IDEX Online: Marange diamond exports approved

We publish courtesy of National Jeweler

By Vinod Kuriyan and Edahn Golan for IDEX Online

Ramat-Gan—By using an unusual procedure of the Kimberley Process (KP), the outgoing chairman of the rough diamond monitoring body succeeded to pass the draft Jerusalem agreement, clearing the way for Zimbabwean diamond exports.

After a third of the KP members, 17 countries, approved the Jerusalem agreement, with no objections, KP sources told IDEX Online that outgoing KP Chairman Boaz Hirsch has issued a notification that now allows the legal export of diamonds from Marange.

The Jerusalem agreement is a compromise accord worked out by the United States with Zimbabwe during a KP Plenary meeting held in November. The Agreement however was rejected by Canada and Australia, preventing its adoption.

After several months of negotiations, most surrounding sub-section 3(b), which stipulates how many members of the Working Group on Monitoring (WGM) are needed to stop Zimbabwe’s exports in a self-cessation mechanism, Hirsch submitted a revised version to KP members, asking them to state their position by January 10.

When no response arrived, the deadline was extended to January 17, by which time 17 countries expressed their support for the revised draft.

One issue that remains open is Russia’s negative response to the procedure Hirsch used. This will need to be worked out by the incoming KP Chairman Mathieu Yamba.

This development means that $160 million worth of rough diamonds that had been recently bought by four Indian companies can now be legally imported into India for processing. The diamonds were reportedly in a sort of limbo, being held in Dubai’s free trade zone, which meant that technically they hadn’t entered the United Arab Emirates.

This article was first published on IDEX Online on Jan. 18.

 

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