Diamond trade monitor says no decision has been made on Zim

bernad_esau.jpegThe chairman of the international diamond trade monitor, the Kimberly Process, has this week said that no final decision has been taken concerning Zimbabwes participation in the regulatory body, weeks after declaring that a suspension was unlikely. (Pictured:Bernhard Esau)

Nigerian Mines Minister, Bernhard Esau, last month told a press conference in Harare that calls by the groups members to suspend Zimbabwe over human rights abuses will not be taken seriously. Esau, who was in Zimbabwe to conduct yet another review of the countrys complicity with international diamond trade standards, said there had been recommendations made about voluntary suspension, but no consensus had been reached on the matter. Yes there are members of the Kimberly process trying to convince other members to suspend Zimbabwe but we will not entertain such (calls), said Esau.

But Esau this week retracted the statement, saying there has been no final decision on Zimbabwes fate. He explained that the delegation, which conducted a review mission in Zimbabwe in early July, has not yet produced its final report. He continued that any decisions by the Kimberley Process as to Zimbabwes membership with the body will be taken in light of the final report. Esau added that Zimbabwe will have the opportunity to comment on the report when it is finally released.

The delegation that was in Zimbabwe to investigate widespread reports of abuse and killings in Chiadzwa, recommended in an unpublished, but leaked, interim report that the country be suspended for six months. The team that was headed by Liberian deputy mines Minister Kpandel Faiya issued the apparently damning report at the end of its visit calling for a temporary ban on trade in diamonds from Zimbabwe, until effective security and internal control measures and resources were in place. The delegation also urged the government to demilitarise the diamond fields, a call that has been wholly ignored.

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