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US wanted Mozambique to help curb diamond smuggling from Zimbabwe

The United States wanted Mozambique to become a member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme so that it could help curb diamond smuggling from Zimbabwe’s Marange fields through its territory.

It said Mozambique had become the main conduit of smuggled diamonds from Marange. Most of the illegal diamond dealers had set up shop in the towns of Chimoio and Manica.

Buyers from Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Dubai, Israel, and Belgium had taken residence in the towns, and the Gida Hotel in Manica was housing a diamond company that was also registered in Europe.

Washington’s main concern was that the illicit diamond trade was generating millions of dollars in illegal profits for President Robert Mugabe and members of his inner circle.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09STATE82807, MOZAMBIQUE’S ROLE IN COMBATING ILLICIT DIAMOND

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09STATE82807

2009-08-10 14:35

CONFIDENTIAL

Secretary of State

VZCZCXRO8792

PP RUEHDE

DE RUEHC #2807/01 2221453

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 101435Z AUG 09

FM SECSTATE WASHDC

TO RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO PRIORITY 3989

INFO RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 4589

RUEHFN/AMEMBASSY FREETOWN PRIORITY 9635

RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE PRIORITY 4058

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5961

RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 5701

RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 9000

RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI PRIORITY 8906

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7261

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 STATE 082807

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2024

TAGS: ECON EMIN PREL MZ ZI

SUBJECT: MOZAMBIQUE’S ROLE IN COMBATING ILLICIT DIAMOND

TRADE FROM ZIMBABWE

 

REF: A. A: 08 STATE 126054

B. B: 09 STATE 018545

C. C: 09 HARARE 00024

 

Classified By: EEB/ESC DAS Doug Hengel for reasons 1.4 (b and d)

 

1. This is an action request. Please see paragraphs 8 and 9.

 

2. (C) SUMMARY.   During the week of June 29, EEB’s Special

Advisor for Conflict Diamonds (SACD) participated in a Review

Mission undertaken by the Kimberley Process (KP) to Zimbabwe.

The mandate of the Review Mission was to assess overall

compliance by Zimbabwe with the KP, with a particular focus

on the Marange mine in eastern Zimbabwe. Since November

2008, there has been widespread reporting of diamond

smuggling from Marange. In finding Zimbabwe not in KP

compliance, the Review Mission confirmed much of this earlier

reporting. Interviewees consistently reported to the Review

Mission that non-KP Participant Mozambique, through the

border town of Manica, serves as the primary outlet for

diamonds smuggled out of Marange. We want to urge Mozambique

to join the Kimberley Process and to undertake specific

action to curb this illicit diamond trading. END SUMMARY.

 

REVIEW MISSION TEAM: ALLEGATIONS CREDIBLE

 

3. (C) The KP Review Mission confirmed previous reporting

from the past several months that the Government of Zimbabwe

undertook a brutal effort to “clean up” a rush by tens of

thousands of illegal miners in the Marange diamonds fields,

located in the Chiadzwa village area of eastern Zimbabwe.

Following the crackdown in late 2008, illicit diamond trading

activity was brought under the direct control of the

Zimbabwean military, with soldiers engaging in mining and

perpetrating human rights abuses, including directing forced

labor of the local population and committing extra-judicial

killings. REFTELS A, B. The KP Review Mission interviewed

more than 20 victims of such abuses and observed soldiers

overseeing illegal diamond mining activities in the Marange

region.   The KP Review Mission also interviewed political

leaders in the nearby city of Mutare, who confirmed these

reports and also indicated significantly increased smuggling

activity — and related vice — in Mutare, which is less than

20 kilometers from the Mozambique border.

 

4. (C) Since January, Mozambique has been identified as a

primary smuggling route for Marange diamonds. REFTELS A, C.

Several recent reports from local and international

non-governmental organizations also identify Mozambique as

the primary outlet for Marange diamonds. One report, from a

small but very impressive Zimbabwean NGO, the Center for

Research and Development (CRD), includes pictures taken of

illegal diamond trading during an investigation undertaken in

the border towns of Manica and Chimoio. The diamonds in one

photograph closely resemble diamonds observed by the SACD at

the Marange mine. Buyers from Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Dubai,

Israel, and Belgium were identified by CRD as having taken up

residence in the towns, and the Gida Hotel in Manica was

specifically named as housing a diamond company that is also

registered in Europe. Human Rights Watch (HRW) also

mentioned Mozambique in a recent report that received

significant publicity. SACD has requested further details

from the reporting NGOs. The KP Review Mission found the

reports produced by CRD and HRW to be generally accurate.

 

HELP WANTED: MOZAMBIQUE

 

5. (U) Following the initial press reports of human rights

abuses and smuggling in the diamond fields, the 75-nation

Kimberley Process (KP), the international system that

regulates the international rough diamond trade through the

Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, took several steps in

response. One of the KP’s primary responses came through its

Working Group on Diamond Experts (WGDE), which issued a

technical production footprint of the rough diamonds from the

Marange region. This footprint has been distributed

throughout the KP system and has been made available at:

www.israelidiamond.co.il/UploadedFiles/footpr int-

marange-zim-v.1-authorities.pdf; it is designed for use by

Customs and other law enforcement authorities to identify

 

STATE 00082807 002 OF 003

 

 

Marange diamonds that may be illicitly traded. The KP has

also facilitated extensive cooperation among Participants

attempting to combat the smuggling of Marange diamonds.

 

6. (U) The KP’s efforts, however, can only go so far with

respect to non-Participants. For its part, largely as a

result of concerns connected to Marange, the KP, through

India in its role as Participation Committee Chair, sent a

letter in February 2009 inviting Mozambique to consider

joining the KP. No response was received. Should it join,

Mozambique would not only be able to consider development of

a legitimate diamond trading and/or cutting industry —

which could be a feasible option given its proximity to

several major producing countries — but also avail itself of

technical assistance directed at combating diamond smuggling.

From the U.S. perspective, Mozambique’s participation in the

KP is desirable, and would enlarge the scope of regional

enforcement and coverage directed against smuggling of

Marange diamonds. An “interim update,” intended to be a

precursor to the final report, issued on July 20 by the

Review Mission includes a specific recommendation that the KP

and individual Participants encourage Mozambique to improve

border control and join the KP.

 

7. (SBU) Even if it does not join the KP, Mozambique can

clearly do more to combat the smuggling activity underway in

Manica and Chimoio. The public knowledge about the trading,

and the apparent ease with which CRD obtained access to

smugglers makes it likely that Mozambican authorities in

principle should be able to track down at least some of this

activity. Should they be able to do so, and the Marange

smuggling network lose one of its primary outlets, the

Mozambican authorities could contribute greatly to the

efforts of the KP and others to stop the abuses in Marange.

 

8. (U) Action request. Drawing on the talking points

contained in Paragraph 10, Post should urge Mozambique, at an

appropriately senior level, to take the necessary steps to

join the Kimberley Process and to undertake specific action

to curb the illicit diamond trading currently on-going in

Manica and Chimoio.

 

Talking Points

 

9. (U) Action Request (cont’d):

 

— The KP has confirmed through a recent Review Mission that

illicit diamond trade in eastern Zimbabwe directly involves

members of Zimbabwe security forces, resulting in grave human

rights abuses and potentially generating millions of dollars

in illegal profits for Robert Mugabe and members of his inner

circle. This badly needed foreign exchange is likely used to

support Mugabe and his ZANU-PF loyalists, which has resulted

in a humanitarian and governance crisis in Zimbabwe of epic

proportions.

 

— Their actions are being encouraged and supported by a

willing black market, which appears to be centered in two

towns, Manica and Chimoio, in Mozambique and involving

nations from around the world eager to reap the profits of

lucrative diamond sales. We need Mozambique’s assistance to

stop this illegal source of revenue for Mugabe and his inner

circle and hold accountable those who are participating in

this corrupt trade.

 

— We recognize that Mozambique has many law enforcement

priorities to attend to, and appreciate all of the efforts

made to address concerns such as narcotics. At the same

time, we need greater, focused law enforcement attention from

Mozambique to stop this illicit diamond trade from Zimbabwe,

both at the border and within the nearby border towns where

this trade is centered.

 

— Mozambique was invited earlier this year to join the KP.

We urge Mozambique to consider taking the steps necessary to

pursue KP membership as soon as possible.

 

— Joining the KP would not only bolster Mozambique’s ability

to take action against the illegal trade currently underway

but also provide a number of other benefits, including:

 

* Serving as the necessary step for the development of a

legitimate diamond trading and/or cutting industry. Given

its proximity to several major producing countries,

Mozambique could follow the lead of a country like Mauritius

 

STATE 00082807 003 OF 003

 

 

and become an additional center for legitimate diamond

trading, cutting, and polishing.

 

* Broadening Mozambique’s involvement in and awareness of

best practices with respect to mineral resource management

and governance. The KP is a unique and important model in

addressing the challenges attendant to mineral resources.

Although Mozambique does not produce diamonds, the lessons

and best practices from the KP may be able to be translated

to other mining sectors in Mozambique.

 

* Availing itself of the potential for technical assistance

in the areas of security and law enforcement that could

improve Mozambique’s ability to combat smuggling from

Zimbabwe.

 

REPORTING DEADLINE

 

10. (U) Department requests Post to report results to

EEB/ESC/IEC Brad Brooks-Rubin and AF/S Phaedra Gwyn as soon

as possible.

CLINTON

 

(16 VIEWS)

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