EU 'to lift sanctions' on Zimbabwe diamond company

Image source: USGS Wikimedia Commons.Image source: USGS Wikimedia Commons.The European Union has reportedly agreed to lift sanctions on diamond-mining company, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC)

The move has attracted criticism due to ongoing suspicions of fraud during Zimbabwe's recent election, which was won by President Robert Mugabe.

The move by the EU was confirmed by its foreign affairs spokesman, Michael Mann, according to Reuters.

Belgium, which forms the global hub of the diamond trade, were in favour of the lifting of sanctions on ZMDC, while Britain resisted the move.

ZMDC had been subject to having its assets frozen by the UN due to the company being, "associated with the ZANU-PF faction of government".

EU ministers' endorsement of the lifting of sanctions is expected to be "a formality", an EU diplomat told Reuters.

ZMDC operates five joint-venture mines in the Marange diamond fields.

Belgium estimated that lifting the EU sanctions would increase Zimbabwe's yearly tax revenues by US$400mn.

Mann said that EU diplomats discovered no evidence that ZMDC's activities were linked to violence during July's election.

Although he added that there were still "serious questions about the fairness and credibility of the process" when asked about issues raised by election observers.

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