KP Chairman: Let’s Avoid Stalemate

Another impasse between the Kimberley Process and Zimbabwe would be “very costly,” KP chairman Boaz Hirsch warned a group of journalists Monday on the first day of the organization’s plenary in Jerusalem.

“An impasse would mean uncertainty,” he said. “We are looking for a consensus based agreement.”

Exports from the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe have been barred pending a report from the organization’s Working Group of Monitoring, which sent a review mission to the area in September.

Hirsch predicted late-night negotiations as Zimbabwe haggled with its critics within the organization over a plan to resume exports.

“The Kimberley Process is a roller coaster,” he said. “Sometimes you are up. Sometimes you are down. Sometimes you enjoy the ride. Sometimes you don’t.”

On Monday, Obert Mpofu, Zimbabwe’s minister of mines, threatened to leave the organization if full exports aren’t granted. 

Hirsch said that “some of the rhetoric deeply bothers me, but what matters most are actions. The Kimberley Process is still the optimal place to be if you are a player in the diamond field.”

He said the organization needs to consider human rights as a factor going forward.

“This is not an issue we should shy away from,” he said.

But he added that the Process ultimately has limitations.

“I am not the U.N. Security Council that can send convoys and airplanes,” he said.

Still, he said its strong points have been underestimated.

“The KP has strength, and it has proven it,” he said. “What other mineral has a successful regulatory regime?”