An international ban on exporting diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange fields has been lifted by diamond regulator Kimberley Process, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The go-ahead from Kimberely Process ends a standoff between supporters of the deal and critics who feel that sales could lead to human-rights abuses. The agreement will allow two companies, Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources, to start exporting immediately, WSJ reports.
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Zimbabwe Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said Tuesday that the agreement was brokered after tough negotiations, WSJ reports.
The Zimbabwe government owns Marange Resources and has a 50 percent stake in Mbada. The decision was welcomed by the World Diamond Council, which was reaching in talks involving the United States, European Union and African countries, BBC reports.
Eli Izhakoff, president of the World Diamond Council, said the deal is a "real milestone,” WSJ reports. "Credit also is due to Zimbabwe, the African nations led by the South Africa, the United States, and a host of individuals and delegates who put in long hours in negotiating the arrangement.”
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The U.S. and EU had previously blocked attempts to left the ban which was imposed in 2009 following allegations that Zimbabwean military officers had a stake in the industry, BBC reports. The agreement came at Kimberely Process meetings earlier this week in the Congo, Fox News reports. The Kimberely Process was set up in 2002 after wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia that were fueled by “blood diamonds,” according to Fox News.
Nations that trade diamonds now must certify the origins of diamonds to assure customers they are not financing war or human rights abuses.
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