Global diamond scheme completes Zimbabwe's rehabilitation
* No new definition for "conflict diamond" - yet
* Special monitoring of Zimbabwe production to end
* China volunteers to take larger role
By Andrew Quinn
WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The global Kimberley Process (KP) initiative set up to stem the flow of so-called conflict diamonds on Friday confirmed that Zimbabwe had fully met its standards for exporting the gems, following a meeting that exposed deep continued divisions in the group.
Non-governmental organizations, which have frequently criticized the KP process, said its inability to agree on expanding the definition of what constitutes a "conflict" diamond highlighted a broader unwillingness to take a firm line on the global diamond trade.
"For us this really means that the Kimberley Process is no longer the first word on conflict diamonds," said Alan Martin of Partnership Africa Canada, one of the non-governmental groups that take part in the process.
"We're going to be looking to other forums such as the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) to begin a more honest debate on this issue."
Zimbabwe, which was allowed to export diamonds under the KP mandate last year, had nevertheless been placed under a special year-long monitoring program amid repeated charges of human rights abuses and smuggling at its diamond fields. Continued...