via US stands by ‘reform first’ pledge over Zim targeted sanctions | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Friday, September 20, 2013
The United States has reaffirmed its support for Zimbabwe, emphasizing that target sanctions against key individuals and companies in the country will remain until democratic reforms are achieved.
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, told SW Radio Africa on Friday that his country remains committed to supporting Zimbabwe to help fulfill its economic and democratic potential.
He also moved to clarify widespread misinformation being published and broadcast by the state media about his country’s targeted sanctions policy.
ZANU PF has been increasing its anti-sanctions propaganda in recent weeks, using the state media as a voice to pin the blame for Zimbabwe’s multitude of problems on the Western imposed restrictive measures.
This is despite the measures being specifically targeted against key ZANU PF individuals and companies as a reaction to human rights abuses and vote rigging.
Wharton explained on Friday that the US measures, including travel restrictions on 113 Zimbabwean individuals and financial restrictions on 70 ZANU PF linked entities, were imposed “to bring pressure to bear on those people we believe have the power to make decisions that either strengthen or weaken Zimbabwe.”
The Ambassador emphasised that their policy on Zimbabwe has never been “static” and is dependent on real democratic reforms and human rights commitments being seen in the country. He also said that the measures have not been responsible for Zimbabwe’s economic problems, saying “sovereign policy” like the land grab campaign and other destructive policies are to blame.
“It seems clear to me that the condition of Zimbabwe’s economy is directly related to sovereign policy decisions and not related to targeted sanctions,” Wharton said.
Wharton continued that the US policy remains dependent on reforms, such as “bringing the new constitution into full force, clarifying how the indigenisation programme is to work to build confidence in investors, continuing with some reforms suggested under the (previous unity government), and ensuring the Human Rights Commission is robust and effective.”
“These signs of progress will elicit a positive response from my government,” Wharton said.
He added: “We do stand for values, we do believe that stronger democratic institutions, respect for rule of law and human rights will help strengthen Zimbabwe. That’s why we impose sanctions against that small number of people, and why we continue to support the people of Zimbabwe because we recognize that a democratically stable and economically prosperous and healthy Zimbabwe is far and away in the best interest of the US.”