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Resolve the Zimbabwe issue, says WFDB president

World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) president Avi Paz says it’s time to resolve the Zimbabwe issue over rough diamond exports.
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) is urging the Kimberley Process (KP) to allow the export of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe, including its controversial Marange district.

WFDB president Avi Paz says it’s time to resolve internal disagreements and that delaying action will only cause further damage.

“The KP, due to the deadlock in its decision-making process and its experts’ ensuing indecision to allow rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe to resume, is about to cause irreparable damage throughout the entire supply pipeline of our industry and trade, and threatens the livelihood of literally millions of people throughout the international diamond and jewellery sector,” Paz said.

Not resolving the issue, he said, threatens to damage the reputation of the KP, as well as the diamond and jewellery industries, and bring down economic hardship on Zimbabweans.

“While the diamond industry and trade is in a position to contribute to the betterment of many Zimbabwean citizens, the inaction of the KP, its members, and its experts is now the major stumbling block toward real progress. In addition, if the KP remains indecisive on Zimbabwe, there is a real danger that the relevance of the KP itself will be at stake.”

Ian Smillie, one of the architects of the KP, says the deadlock exists because serious issues remain unresolved.

“The WFDB’s surprising statement calls for the Kimberley Process to sort out its differences and take a ‘courageous’ decision, allowing Zimbabwe to export all of its diamonds, presumably without conditions,” Smillie told Jewellery Business. “It does not call on Zimbabwe to do anything at all. Presumably the wholesale smuggling that continues with Zimbabwean military collusion is okay. Presumably the cancellation of leases, the creation of bogus companies, and the willy-nilly nationalization of anything that glitters is okay. Presumably the on-going human rights abuse and government thuggery is okay. The KP deadlock exists because some governments agree with the WFDB that all this is okay, and some do not. Those that do not are the courageous ones—governments that understand what tends to happen to an industry when its regulators fail to regulate.”

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Paz continued to urge WFDB members to trade only in KP-certified rough diamonds.

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