The Herald (Harare)

6 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Walk the Talk, Remove Illegal Sanctions in Toto

editorial

Our country stands vindicated, we stand vindicated as everyone from Washington to the European Union now says what we have been saying all along. There is no blood on our diamonds and we

should be allowed unfettered access to the international market like any other country that has achieved Kimberley Process Certification Scheme compliance.

As we reported in yesterday's issue, EU high representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice president of the Commission, Mrs Catherine Ashton, hailed the KPCS Working Group on Monitoring's decision to allow the Government to export diamonds without KPCS supervisors.

"The decision to lift the special monitoring measures under the Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) administrative decision with respect to the Marange mining area in Zimbabwe is a positive step forward.

"This recognises the significant progress that Zimbabwe has made to improve KP compliance," Ms Ashton said.

The four companies mining diamonds in Marange were not allowed to export the gems and had to wait for the green light from the KPCS appointed monitors Mr Abbey Chikane and Mr Mark Van Bockstael.

While we welcome the EU announcement, we would like to remind the European bloc that talk is cheap. We need to see them walk their talk by removing all forms of sanctions they imposed on our country and its leadership.

We have said it before and we say it again. We have no quarrel with either the EU or US, but just a bilateral dispute with London that should have been treated as such. As it is we are a country that has been more sinned against than sinners.

As we speak, because the unwarranted economic sanctions regime, over US$30million accruing from our diamond proceeds has been intercepted and lost due to the actions of the US State Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

This despite the fact that the 51-member KPCS, of which we are a party, endorsed mining operations at Chiadzwa as model operations of international standards.

To this end we reiterate our call to the EU, US and their allies to remove the ruinous embargoes in toto so that our people can benefit fully from their God-given resource.

Sanctions on diamonds companies are misplaced and serve no other purpose than enrich the Western brigands who are using them as cover to intercept and steal proceeds from our diamond exports.

Our people have, for a long time, been wallowing in poverty while millions of carats are piling up in warehouses. As long as the US and European Union sanctions remain in place the KPCS endorsement might not produce desired results.

OFAC will continue intercepting and stealing diamond proceeds while the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe will not be able to cut any deals with major diamond on the international market.

The EU and their allies must walk the talk.

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