Zimbabwe boycotts Kimberley Process Certification Scheme

18:46, November 23, 2010      

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Zimbabwe boycotted a Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPSC) meeting in Belgium on Monday as the African Diamond Producers Association has advised Harare to sue the KPSC secretariat for denying the country its right to sell its gems.

The KP members gathered in Brussels on Monday and are expected to reach an agreement on Zimbabwe's diamond exports.

Zimbabwe's Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu confirmed that KP was meeting in Brussels, saying that the KP extended an invitation for Zimbabwe to attend the meeting but the country would not be part to proceedings in Brussels.

"They have been begging us to attend the meeting but we are not attending. We have nothing to discuss with them. They are the ones who need to sort themselves out. We have no problems," Mpofu was quoted by Tuesday's The Herald as saying.

Zimbabwe has met the KP minimum requirements to trade in its diamonds. But Western countries led by the United States, Canada and Australia continue to influence the KP not to permit Zimbabwe to sell its diamonds freely on the international market.

The African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) has said Zimbabwe can successfully sue the KPCS in the international courts and it will throw its weight behind Zimbabwe in the event it sues the KPCS secretariat.

"Zimbabwe should contemplate taking legal action against the KP. Zimbabwe's diamonds cannot be held at ransom by one or two countries," Namibia's diamonds commissioner Kennedy Hamutenya reportedly told delegates attending a meeting of the ADPA in Namibia last week.

"The joint work plan agreed to in Swakopmund (2009) has since expired. Zimbabwe was never suspended from the Kimberly Process and consensus is required to do that. There is a working document that we all signed up to and it is based on the premise that Zimbabwe would be allowed to export once it has complied with the joint work plan," he added.

Hamutenya said the KP was formed to stop the flow of conflict diamonds. It noted that there was no civil war in Zimbabwe.

"Only the World Trade Organization can stop a country from trading its diamonds. The KP has no right whatsoever, no legal basis. There are solid grounds for Zimbabwe to take legal action," he said.



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