No decision on Marange

There was dead silence as the deadline for Kimberley Process members to decide what to do about Zimbabwe’s Marange diamonds came and passed on Monday.  Outgoing chairman, Boaz Hirsch, had asked members to vote on the revised Brussels Proposal by January 10, but it appears not a single country responded and the deadline is said to have been extended to January 17.

Israeli diamond expert, Chaim Even-Zohar, who has argued all along that Zimbabwe should be allowed to export its rough diamonds so that they keep within the system says he was not surprised by the inaction because he had warned that after Jerusalem, there would be “Zimbabwe fatigue”.

He argues that the extension is not going to make any difference because since Jerusalem’s November meeting of the KP, Zimbabwe has been excluded from any negotiations.

“It’s kind of pathetic that all negotiations about the future of Marange export arrangements after the November 2010 KP plenary are taking place without Zimbabwe,” he says. “In international politics this is called an ‘imposed solution’- a kind of  ‘take it or leave it’ exercise. It’s not going to work- and even if the KP chair reaches a consensus, Zimbabwe will not go for it anyway, What a waste of time and resources.”

Even –Zohar says although the outgoing KP chair had described his tenure as simultaneously “challenging and rewarding, exhausting and gratifying” it was a shame that the KP system had failed to agree on how a member should export part of its nation’s rough diamonds.

“It’s quite shocking that the system failed to find a way to allow a member of the KP to export a part of its output. So, while the ‘Zimbabwe fatigue’ has caused attention to shift to other countries, there are still anywhere between US$180 million and US$225 million worth of  Marange goods that have been sold, largely paid for, and are biding their time either extraterritorial in the United Arab Emirates or in Harare and probably also in Mozambique.

“What is going to be the plight of those goods? What is going to happen to those who bought them? Some buyers purchased the parcels in good faith, while others had only faith in the goods. Both situations are still waiting for a solution.”

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