American diamond official urged to resign

Associated Press
FILE -- In this Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006 file photo  miners dig for diamonds in Marange, eastern Zimbabwe.  At least $2 billion worth of diamonds have been stolen from Zimbabwe's eastern diamond fields and have enriched President Robert Mugabe's ruling circle, international gem dealers and criminals, according to an organization leading the campaign against conflict diamonds. Zimbabwe's Marange fields have seen "the biggest plunder of diamonds since Cecil Rhodes," the colonial magnate who exploited South Africa's Kimberley diamonds a century ago, charged Partnership Africa Canada, a member of the Kimberley Process, the world regulatory body on the diamond trade.  (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi-File)

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VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's diamond conference was rocked by controversy over the Kimberley Process, the world diamond trade regulatory body, whose chairwoman was publicly asked to resign because she is American.

Gillian Milovanovic, the American chairwoman of the Kimberley Process, came under a barrage of criticism Tuesday from African and other delegates at the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference for allegedly not doing enough to persuade the U.S. government to lift trade restrictions on Zimbabwe's state-owned diamond mining companies.

South Africa's Kimberley Process monitor Abbey Chikane accused Milovanovic of having a conflict of interest because she is American.

The state-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Company and Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe are on the U.S. sanctions list, because of evidence of the Mugabe government's state violence and human rights violations.

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