Monday, September 5, 2011

Team Monitoring Diamond Trade Rebukes Zimbabwe

JOHANNESBURG — A team assessing Zimbabwe’s compliance with international standards to prevent the diamond trade from fueling conflict found that the nation’s military had been directly involved in illegal mining and that the authorities had carried out “horrific violence against civilians,” according to a memo the team gave to Zimbabwean officials.

The team, sent on a mission to Zimbabwe last week under the Kimberly Process, an international undertaking to halt the trade in so-called blood diamonds, said its recommendations could include the full suspension of Zimbabwe from the process, further complicating the country’s ability to sell its diamonds on international markets. Already, the World Federation of Diamond Bourseshas recommended that its members in 20 countries not trade diamonds from the Marange deposits in eastern Zimbabwe because of reports of abuses.

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