Western bloc's KPCS proposal set to face opposition
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Representatives from diamond producing countries and members of the civic society are in Washington for the week-long KP Intercessional meeting.
The diamond watchdog body, which is currently chaired by US's Gillian Milovanovic, will deliberate on, among other issues, the US's proposal for the redefinition of the term â€˜bloody diamonds', the setting up of a full-time secretariat as well as the reformation of the KP Charter.
In a few hours' time, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic & Business Affairs JosÃ© Fernandez will give welcoming remarks before Kimberley Process (KP) Vice Chair, Susan Shabangu, Minister of Mineral Resources of the Republic of South Africa and Kimberley Process (KP) Chair, Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic make their presentations.
The KP chair's speech is expected to set the tone of the meeting and it appears the Ambassador Milovanovic faces a tough balancing act. On one hand, she is expected to restore the credibility of the KP which is currently at its lowest level. On the other hand, she has to deal with the Zimbabwean case in a manner which will not raise conflict of interests.
Later on during the day, delegates are expected to break into Working Group Sessions. For Zimbabwe, the most critical Working Group session will be the one on Monitoring where KP Monitor to Zimbabwe Mark Van Bolstel is expected to give a report on diamond mining in Marange.
In an interview soon after arriving in Washington, head of Zimbabwe delegation, Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu expressed confidence of fruitful deliberations but however warned that attempts to include issues of the reformation of the KP Charter and redefinition of conflict diamonds on the agenda would be opposed.
Dr. Mpofu also stressed the importance of African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) having a greater influence in the administration of the KP.
Observers believe the proposal by the US and the civic society to redefine the term â€˜bloody diamonds' by including issues of good governance is meant to block the trade in Marange diamonds.
Zimbabwe's delegation to the meeting includes Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development Prince Mupazviriho, Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Defence Martin Rushwaya, senior government officials and representatives of the Zimbabwe diamond industry.
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