A former British cabinet member will this week urge the European Union (EU) to extend the targeted sanctions still in place against the Robert Mugabe regime to include the 'mafia' controlling the Zimbabwe diamonds fields.
Peter Hain, a former Minister for Africa, will argue in the British Parliament on Tuesday that the targeted sanctions must be extended to those still exploiting Zimbabwe's 'blood diamonds'. He will be using a recent report by human rights group Global Witness to back up his argument.
Global Witness last month said money is being siphoned from Zimbabwe's Chiadzwa diamond fields to finance a "parallel government" and its secret police force in Zimbabwe, helped by a Chinese businessman named Sam Pa. The report states that Pa has provided funding and equipment to Zimbabwe's secret police in return for access to diamond deposits.
Hain told SW Radio Africa on Monday that a "small corrupt mafia" in Chiadzwa was lining their pockets with diamond profits, and laying the path for another violent election in Zimbabwe.
"The evidence presented shows conclusively that the whole way the diamonds are being mined to line the pockets of this mafia, suggest they have the resources to ensure the elections may not be free or fair. We cannot allow this to happen," Hain said.
Hain's debate in the House of Commons comes ahead of a Council meeting of the EU, where the European bloc's re-reengagement with Zimbabwe is set to be discussed. The discussions are taking place amid speculation that the wholesale lifting of the targeted sanctions still in place against the regime will be considered, as a stepping stone in the reengagement process.
That Council meeting will get underway next Monday and Hain said that he hopes his recommendations will be taken on board.
You can read the Global Witness report here.