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U.S. to Head Zimbabwe 'Blood Diamonds' Monitoring Group

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By Fungai Maboreke, Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Nov. 8 (GIN) – The United States has captured the chair of the Kimberley process certification scheme, allowing Washington to have a major role in whether Zimbabwe may sell its diamonds on the world market starting in 2012.

The Kimberly Process is an international government certification scheme set up in 2003 to prevent the trade in so-called “blood diamonds” that fund conflicts.

Opposition to Zimbabwe diamond sales came regularly from human rights groups who claimed there were abuses against illegal miners, that smuggling was rife and that certain mines remained in the hands of Zimbabwe's military forces.

But monitoring teams sent by Kimberley concluded the country had met minimum regulatory standards and sales were finally permitted this year.

Zimbabwe is a major exporter with potential to constitute about 20 percent of diamonds traded on international markets. At current production capacities, Zimbabwe could rake in excess of US$2 billion from diamond revenues each year.

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