Zimbabwe sold 900, 000 carats of diamonds from Chiadzwa worth $72 million on Wednesday, the first such sale since the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme approved its gems last month.

The buyers came from India, Lebanon, the United States, Israel and Russia, the State media reported on Thursday.

Zimbabwe, however, still requires KP certification for more than three million carats extracted from the eastern diamond fields.

The KP granted Zimbabwe the right to export part of its gems from Chiadzwa at the World Diamond Council meeting in Russia last month, and Wednesday's auction only covered diamonds produced between May 28, 2010 and September this year.

KP monitor for Zimbabwe Abbey Chikane certified the gems before the sales were conducted at the Harare International Airport.

The political leadership of the country, including Vice-President John Nkomo, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara attended the sale and hailed it as a relief for the economy.

Zimbabwe got KP's approval to sell its Chiadzwa diamonds despite opposition from Western countries that labelled the country's gems “blood diamonds.” But Mr. Nkomo said the country, as a founding member, remained committed to the KP.

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