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.
Viewing cable 09STATE82807, MOZAMBIQUE’S ROLE IN COMBATING ILLICIT DIAMOND
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
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2024
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:
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.
¶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
— 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
¶10. (U) Department requests Post to report results to
EEB/ESC/IEC Brad Brooks-Rubin and AF/S Phaedra Gwyn as soon