A top official in the United Arab Emirates has come to his countrymen’s defense for their decision to purchase rough stones from Zimbabwe, when diamond traders from Western nations complied with sanctions, the Zimbabwe Mail reports. Dubai Multi Commodities Center executive chairman Ahmed bin Sulayem spoke at a conference discussing precious metals, dismissing appeals to remain apolitical, insisting that keeping up sanctions against Zimbabwe is a mistake.
In recent years, Dubai has doggedly pursued business ties from any quarter, regardless of the regime that ruled the region, according to the Zimbabwe Standard. In 2011 – the last year for which financial figures are available – $408 million worth of Zimbabwe’s rough diamonds were imported to Dubai. Most of these were then re-exported to India, Belgium, China and Thailand.
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe chair Christopher Mutsvanga characterized Dubai as the country’s “savior” for disregarding U.S. sanctions on its precious gems.