Friday, May 28, 2010

India backs Zim on diamonds

INDIA has said there is no proof showing Zimbabwe’s diamond mining sector has not complied with Kimberly Process Certification Scheme practices.

In an interview yesterday, India’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Ashok Venkatesan said following President Mugabe’s remarks on Africa Day concerning natural resources, his country would continue supporting Zimbabwe in obtaining KPCS approval.

India is one of the biggest traders and the largest processor of diamonds worldwide.

"We understand that a review is underway by the Kimberly Process, which has appointed a monitor to oversee the mining and other issues associated with diamonds.

"There is a duly elected inclusive Government in place in Zimbabwe. As long as there is no proof furnished, we have no reason to believe that Zimbabwe’s diamonds are not within KP practices," he said.

Ambassador Venkatesan said India supported Zimbabwe at the last KP Plenary meeting in Swakopmund, Namibia, last year.

India, he said, appreciated the sensitivities associated with the issue and would take decisions based on facts.

"As we believe, the KP had sought a Joint Work Plan between the KP participants and the Government of Zimbabwe.

"We continue to support Zimbabwe in obtaining approval through the KP process.

"The review is underway and we do not have the final position yet. Let us not prejudge the issue," he said.

Mr Venkatesan said Zimbabwean diamonds were not conflict diamonds.

India’s diamond industry employs about 1,2 million people and a further 5 million are involved in the jewellery business.

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