|KPCS shoots down US plot|
|Saturday, 26 May 2012 21:54|
Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) members have shot down an audacious bid by the grouping’s chairperson,
Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic,to redefine its statutes as part of efforts to discredit diamonds produced in Marange.
Dr Mpofu said 99 percent of the members of the grouping rejected the proposal which was drawn up after the West realised that allegations that gems mined in Marange are “blood diamonds” were no longer sustainable.
“I can say 99 percent of members rejected it and these include the African Diamond Producers, India and even most countries from the West itself. We know very well that Zimbabwe is not supposed to be on the top of the agenda at the meeting, but our detractors want to put us under the spotlight.”
He said there are, however, attempts to shift focus. The minister said the gains registered so far should enable the country to trade its diamonds unconditionally.
“Our detractors see that the achievements that we have made in Marange are tangible and we have exceeded the minimum requirements of compliance. So, they want to find new ways of denigrating us.”
In her proposal, which she also presented to the World Diamond Council, Ambassador Milovanovic urged members to support the “modernisation of conflict diamonds”, a move aimed at tightening the screws on operations in Marange.
“But the critical issue, as we see it, is to modernise the definition of a conflict diamond.”
“The definition of ‘conflict diamond’ used within the KPCS could be modified to cover ‘rough diamonds used to finance, or otherwise directly related to, armed conflict or other situations of violence’.
“I want to emphasise that this modified definition will encompass situations already encountered and dealt with in ad-hoc manner by the KP and will include clear guidelines derived from international legal principles that ensure all nations and trading entities know exactly what diamonds must be prevented from entering the supply chain, on a mine-by-mine or site-by-site basis.
“This new definition of conflict diamond would, like the present one, represent a minimum requirement for certification. In practice, there is nothing new about much of this. In some ways, we are advocating the codification of current ad-hoc practice. For example, the KP is already implementing a mine-by-mine compliance approach to Marange.”