Tuesday, December 31, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) US remains engaged, despite poll regret
13/11/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE United States remains disappointed with the manner in which the July election was conducted but will continue to engage the government of Zimbabwe, Washington’s top envoy to Harare said Wednesday.

Ambassador Bruce Wharton, who was addressing reporters at the Naletale monuments in Shangani, said although his country does not recognise the July 31 election as credible, Washington will continue to engage Zimbabwe to boost its economy.

The US government donated $64,000 for the rehabilitation of collapsed walls at Naletale monuments through the US Department of State initiative, the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.

“The election was peaceful and a major improvement from the 2008 poll. There is no doubt about that. But the whole process was flawed,” he said.

Washington and the European Union have refused to accept President Robert Mugabe’s re-election in the July 31 elections despite observers from the African Union (AU) and the regional SADC grouping endorsing the vote.

“Even the AU and SADC did not say the election was credible; they said ‘generally credible’. As the US we do not see the election as credible, it did not express the will of the people of Zimbabwe,” said Wharton.

“But that disappointment does not mean the US government has any plans to disengage with the government of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is important not only to the region but the world as a whole.”

Wharton said the US would continue to assist Zimbabwe in all sectors of the economy to support recovery.

“We have committed $125m to the health sector and we help in agricultural development programmes targeting small scale farmers. So Washington will continue to look for ways to engage Zimbabwe,” he said.

Harare would however, prefer that Washington removes sanctions imposed about a decade ago over allegations of rights abuses and electoral fraud which are denied by President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.

Mugabe blames the sanctions for Zimbabwe's economic problems.

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