Kimberley Process Plenary Again Ends in Stalemate

The Kimberley Process Plenary has again deadlocked on the issue
of whether to allow Zimbabwe to resume exports from the Marange diamond fields.

The country’s minister of mines, Obert Mpofu, insisted after
the Jerusalem meeting that the country had been given an official
okay and vowed to begin immediate exports from the two producing mines in the
area.

“Zimbabwe has been pushed into a corner,” he said.
“We have not been treated fairly.”         

He noted that the Kimberley Process review mission had
judged the two mines in the area, Mbada and Canadille, to be compliant
with the Process, He added that any sales would be from those mines only.

KP chairman Boaz Hirsch repeatedly denied any agreement has
been forged, but said that negotiations will continue electronically over the
next few days.

“We will reach out to all the interested parties,”
he said. “This is not an easy situation, but we are working to solve
it.”

He declined to say what would happen if Zimbabwe sold its
diamonds without KP certificates.

“We believe Zimbabwe is still bound by the Joint Work
Plan agreed upon last year in [Namibia],” he said.

World Diamond Council chairman Eli Izhakoff said that the
industry was “disappointed” no consensus was reached

“We were so close,” he said. “But we will
keep talking and are confident we will have a deal.”

He added: “In the past, Zimbabwe has shown
responsibilty and not done anything that is contrary to the Kimberley Process.
I hope and trust they will do the same thing this time. Zimbabwe has shown they
want to engage with the KP.”

Sources said the United States, a frequent Zimbabwe
critic, agreed on the last day to certain language allowing exports.
But Canada, Australia, and the European Union blocked the deal, and the KP
failed to reach the absolute consensus needed.

Exports from Marange were first suspended last November
following reports of human rights violations in the area. In June, a KP
Intersessional in Tel Aviv deadlocked on whether to resume rough
exports from the Marange diamond
fields. A month later, at a World Diamond Council meeting in St. Petersburg,
the Kimberley Process agreed to let Zimbabwe sell two shipments of diamonds.

Read more about the Kimberley Process Plenary in Cutting Remarks.