Monday, July 04, 2011

US$160 Million in Zimbabwe Diamonds Released by UAE

US$160m diamonds released

Monday, 04 July 2011 01:00
By Takunda Maodza
Zimbabwe Herald

THE United Arab Emirates last week released Marange diamonds worth an estimated US$160 million which were being held in Dubai since November last year when they were confiscated.

The move follows the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme's decision to allow the trading of Marange diamonds without further hindrance.

KP made the resolution despite spirited efforts by the US and its allies to stop the country from selling its Chiadzwa gems citing non-existent human rights violations.

"The Zimbabwe rough diamonds held in Dubai since No-vember have been allowed on Wednesday to leave the emirate and are understood to be in India now. The KP Working Group on Monitoring (WGM) approved the export, estimated at around US$160 million," reports from Dubai said, quoting IDEX Online News.

It added: "The goods' (diamonds) journey was long and complicated. They were mined in 2010 in the Marange fields, auctioned in November after the Jerusalem meeting and sold to Indian buyers. During this time period, the status of some of the Marange goods was not clear."

Buyers of the diamonds had reportedly exported the diamonds to Dubai where they were confiscated.

This was after the UAE's Kimberley Process Certification Scheme Office had stated that rough diamonds from Mara-nge were not to be allowed into the country until Zimbabwe complied with the minimum KP requirements.
In Dubai the diamonds were reportedly held in a free trade zone. Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu confirmed there were Marange diamonds confiscated in Dubai.

He could not confirm their release referring The Herald to Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chairman Mr Godwills Masimirembwa.

Mr Masimirembwa's mobile phone went unanswered.

Last month KPCS, meeting in Kinshasa in the DRC, granted Mbada and Marange Resources the nod to unconditionally sell their diamonds after they fully complied with its requirements.

This angered the US and other countries like Australia and Canada that have always advocated a ban on the sale of diamonds from Marange for political reasons.

Analysts say the West is aware that allowing Zimbabwe to trade freely in her diamonds would frustrate its illegal sanctions on Harare.

After the KPCS granted Mbada and Marange Resources the greenlight at its Kinshasa meeting, the US government launched a fresh bid to block Zimbabwe from selling its diamonds.

Through its embassy in Harare, the US said it was disappointed the country had been allowed to export its diamonds.

"The United States is deeply disappointed with the Kinshasa Intercessional as it related to Zimbabwe. The United States has been a strong supporter of the Kimberly Process in the past and desires to find a way forward for the Kimberley Process that includes Zimbabwe and preserves the credibility of the process.

"The United States believes that progress with respect to exports from the Marange area of Zimbabwe can occur solely through a mechanism agreed to by consensus among KP participants. We believe that work towards a solution must continue, and that until consensus is reached, exports from Marange should not proceed," said Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the State Department.

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