US vows to maintain sanctions
by Staff Reporter
THE United States vowed Wednesday that it would not lift sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe before there are signs of permanent political reforms. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson told a telephone conference that Washington will maintain its targeted sanctions until it sees "sufficient progress in the area of democratisation."
"The US continues to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe and will do so until we believe that substantial and irreversible progress has been made in the implementation of [reforms agreed under the Global Political Agreement]," Carson said.
Zimbabwe is pushing for the removal of the sanctions, claiming they are illegal and responsible for a decade-long economic recession from which the country is still struggling to recover.
The US slapped sanctions against more than 50 government, military and Zanu PF officials along with a raft of companies in protest at controversial elections and alleged human rights abuses by President Robert Mugabe's government.
[And the government as a whole, through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, which caused the collapse of the Zimbabwe Dollar, from Jan. 1st 2002 onwards. To cite ZDERA, Section 4 C, (1) and (2):
SEC. 4. SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY.
(c) MULTILATERAL FINANCING RESTRICTION- ... the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director to each international financial institution to oppose and vote against--
(1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or
(2) any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution.
Up until this day, US government officials will not publicly admit that this document exists, or that the sanctions in it are against the Zimbabwean government as a whole, not 'targeted individuals'. They will also not admit that ZDERA caused the collapse of the Zimbabwe Dollar when it was introduced, which is why the Zimbabwe Dollar fell more against the US Dollar in the year 2002, than in the previous 6 years combined. (Correction - ZDERA was signed into law on Jan. 1st 2002, not December 31st 2001.) - MrK]
"We will continue to review our sanctions and we have taken a few people off the list, not as many as the European Union," Carson added.
The country’s two main political parties announced this week that they have ironed out issues stalling the crafting of a new constitution expected to pave the way for fresh polls.
Zimbabwe currently runs on a fractious coalition government between former arch-rivals President Robert Mugabe and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The administration was formed three years ago to avoid an all-out conflict in the wake of a 2008 bloody presidential run-off election.
The EU has also kept a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and his inner circle.
Ministers from the coalition government recently met the EU foreign policy chief, Ashton Catherine, in Brussels as part of an ongoing push for the removal of the sanctions.
Aston said the block would review the sanctions at a meeting in July.
Mugabe maintains there is no justification for the sanctions with his Zanu PF party claiming they were meant to punish the country for its controversial land reforms.