Zimbabwe has once again urged the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to allow the country to export its diamonds to world market.

Zimbabwe finance minister tendai Biti said the KP should allow Zimbabwe to immediately start selling diamonds from Chiadzwa as the delay is affecting ordinary Zimbabweans.

In a statement, Minister Biti dismissed the claim that the gems are blood diamonds. The minister is preparing his mid-term fiscal policy presentation for Parliament later this month and it is understood he wants the diamonds to start benefiting the national economy.

The finance minister said: Kimberley must allow Zimbabwe to sell its diamonds, but should be present in the country to resolve issues now barring KP certification.

Biti called for the speedy resolution of legal claims by London-based African Consolidated Resources over mining claims in Chiadzwa. He said the issue of smuggling and allegations of human rights abuses, including forced labour, should be dealt with decisively.

Zimbabwe is sitting on four million carats of diamonds worth an estimated US$1,7 billion. The 2010 national budget factored in revenues of $1.4 billion and a vote of credit of $810 million.

However, less than $3 million of the vote of credit - which are envisaged inflows from mostly Western donors - has come in.

This, insiders have revealed, has seen minister Biti going on a drive to get Westerners to stop their onslaught and allow Zimbabwe to trade diamonds internationally.

Biti is understood to be communicating to Western diplomats that if the diamonds are unlocked, Zimbabwe will not need a vote of credit.

Biti's call is a slap in the face of detractors who sought to rope him into their fight to tarnish the Chiadzwa diamonds when they proposed to have him as a monitor to replace Abbey Chikane whom they tried to lynch for producing a report saying Zimbabwe had met minimum KPCS standards.

Biti's statement came as Zanu-PF lashed out at Western non-governmental organisations that are trying to criminalise Zimbabwe's diamonds as a way of sustaining the effects of their illegal economic sanctions.

The government two months ago banned the sale of diamonds from all other sources until those from Chiadzwa were certified. In a related development, the Zimbabwean Embassy in Namibia reiterated that Harare might pull out of the Kimberley Process if the group continued withholding certification.

The embassy said Zimbabwe had sovereignty over the resource and there was no reason why it was not benefiting ordinary people.