Tuesday, May 14, 2013

(STICKY) (ZIMBABWE MAIL ZW) U.S. envoy visits Zimbabwe
Staff Reporter 2013-04-16 22:36:00

COMMENT - Here is former UN Ambassador Andrew Young making the convoluted argument that land reform in Zimbabwe was necessary (2500 hectares per farm) but somehow is impossible in South Africa (1350 hectares per farm). - MrK

HARARE, — The former U.S. envoy to the United Nations Andrew Young on Tuesday met Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai separately to mend relations that had soured over the past decade.

Young told journalists after meeting Mugabe that the U.S. State Department had sent him to Zimbabwe to assure the nation that it wanted to see relations revert to the state prior to the land reforms of 2000. The U.S. also wants to see peace prevailing in the country.

Relations between Zimbabwe and the U.S., the United Kingdom, the European Union and other western countries turned for the worst following the land reforms under which most white farmers lost their land mainly to formerly disadvantaged blacks.

Violence rocked the countryside as independence war veterans led the farm invasions, during which several white farmers died.

Zimbabwe was also been accused of rigging the 2000 general elections in Mugabe’s favor.

The U.S. has since imposed sanctions on the southern African country.

Young said there was no reason why the sanctions should stay.

“I should say I have never particularly approved of the sanctions personally, but I have never been able to get rid of them,” he said.

A special envoy of the United States state department and former ambassador to the United Nations, Mr Andrew Young, says his country now has an administration which is prepared to move beyond sanctions.

Young who held a nearly two hour discussion with President Robert Mugabe at State House this Tuesday said he personally approved the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe but said it is time to move forward.

Mr Young was United States permanent representative to the United Nations from 1977 to 1979 and he supported Zimbabwe’s liberation movements who were waging the war of independence against the short-lived Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.

He said the United States needs reassurance that Zimbabwe is peaceful as it was known in the past and that the world hopes to see the beginning of a new flowering of freedom and democracy.

The Zimbabwe government has always maintained that Zimbabweans taught the West democracy when they fought for the right to vote and for their national sovereignty.

Ambassador Young spoke of the need for Zimbabweans to be united irrespective of race, creed and political affiliation saying they should realise they are on the same side.

He saluted Zimbabwe’s land reform programme which has empowered and transformed the lives of over 300 000 Zimbabwean families, saying it was very successful.

He however noted that the programme needs financial support to help farmers increase productivity and cushion them against shortages of fertilisers and seed.

Ambassador Young’s delegation included US ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Bruce Wharton and the assistant Secretary in the State department.

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