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Blood Diamond Monitor Says Zimbabwe Meets Standards


The global body that guards against the sale of so-called "blood diamonds" says Zimbabwe has met its standards and could soon resume exports from controversial diamond fields.

A report from the Kimberley Process, seen by reporters Tuesday, says Zimbabwe has "satisfied minimum requirements" of the Kimberley certification scheme for the trade in rough diamonds.

The Kimberley Process halted the sale of diamonds from the Marange fields last year, after rights groups said Zimbabwe's military was smuggling gems out of the country and abusing civilians who worked in the fields.

The regulator gave Zimbabwe a June deadline to fix the problems and sent South African monitor Abby Chikane to evaluate progress.

Last week, human rights groups said evidence suggests the situation in the Marange fields has not improved.

The groups, which include Global Witness and Human Rights Watch, also said Zimbabwe's government is harassing a local non-profit that has helped to expose alleged abuses in Marange.

Farai Maguwu, director of the Center for Research and Development, was arrested last week after meeting with Kimberley monitor Chikane.

Zimbabwe's government banned the export of all diamonds last month until the country's gets Kimberley Process approval. The ban affected Zimbabwe's two other diamond mines, one controlled by Australia's Rio Tinto and the other run by a Saudi group.

Zimbabwe says it has stockpiled two million carats worth of diamonds from Marange, which it is ready to sell when the Kimberley certification is approved.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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