The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: ZMDC Hails Positive Diamond Conference Outcome

ZIMBABWE Mining Development Corporation chairman Mr Goodwills Masimirembwa has hailed the outcome of the just ended Zimbabwe Diamond Conference held in Victoria Falls this week.

Speaking in an interview on Star FM radio yesterday, Mr Masimirembwa said delegates had been unequivocal in their call for the total removal of sanctions against diamonds from Marange.

"The conference was a success, every delegate came out with one single voice that sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are unfair and must be removed," he said. "There was also one point raised, that Zimbabwe is KP compliant and in fact is over compliant and therefore Zimbabwe must be allowed to trade its diamonds without hindrance."

Mr Masimirembwa reiterated calls by Mr Abbey Chikane, the KP monitor on Marange diamonds, that current KP chairperson Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic should step down after failing to defend Zimbabwe's right to sell its diamonds.

He said Zimbabwe would continue to call for the lifting of sanctions as they were hindering the country from getting full value of its resources.

"The way forward is bright for Zimbabwe, we will continue to call for the removal of sanctions," said Mr Masimirembwa. "His Excellency the President made the call and former South Africa President His Excellency Thabo Mbeki also made the same call that Zimbabwe must be allowed to benefit from its God given resources.

"With or without sanctions, we will continue to sell our diamonds although we are not getting the optimum prices, so the push for the removal of sanctions must be maintained so that once they are removed we will be able to participate fully and be able to realise the full value of the market prices."

Zimbabwe has lost at least US$30 million from diamonds due to the sanctions imposed by the US on ZMDC and companies operating in Marange. The country is also selling its gems at below market prices due to the sanctions.

The Diamond Conference was attended by experts and buyers from various countries and was meant to promote the growth of Zimbabwe's diamond industry.

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