Thursday, March 4, 2010
US Ignores African Leaders' Call to Lift Zimbabwe Sanctions
From:Morning Star Online
Wednesday 03 March 2010
by Tom Mellen
US President Barack Obama has announced that he is extending sanctions on Zimbabwe for another year, snubbing African statesmen who have called for them to be lifted.
Mr Obama announced on Tuesday that US sanctions on the Zimbabwe government would roll over by a year, saying: "The crisis constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the government and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes or institutions has not been resolved."
But on Monday, Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai affirmed that he "wants all sanctions removed."
After talks with Denmark's Minister for Development Co-operation Soren Pind, the former opposition leader said: "If you want to support the people of Zimbabwe you have to support the coalition government. President Mugabe is president of Zimbabwe and you cannot separate President Mugabe from the whole process."
The former opposition leader's comments will bolster South African President Jacob Zuma, who said on his arrival in Britain on Tuesday that if Western countries lift sanctions "that would give Zimbabwe an opportunity to move forward."
Mr Zuma chairs the Southern African Development Community, which brokered a September 2008 power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Mr Tsvangarai's faction of the Western-backed Movement for Democratic Change.
He is expected to tell Prime Minister Gordon Brown that it would be difficult for Zimbabwe to deal with outstanding obstacles to a political resolution while sanctions were still in place.
Zanu-PF, the target of most of the sanctions, has said that it will not give any new concessions in the power-sharing arrangement until the sanctions are lifted.
The European Union originally imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Mr Mugabe and about 196 other individuals in 2002, as Zanu-PF supporters began to seize land from the descendents of white settlers.
Mr Mugabe said that the land has been redistributed to landless veterans of the 1970-80 war against white minority rule, but critics alleged that it had been doled out to his cronies.
Brussels extended its sanctions by another year last month, saying that it wanted to see more "political reform" in Zimbabwe.
Zanu-PF maintained that the sanctions were designed to reverse government efforts to redress inequalities inherited from the colonial era.
A new law complementing the land redistribution programme went into effect on Monday.
Under the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, all companies in Zimbabwe with an asset value of more than £332,000 have five years to sell a 51 per cent stake to indigenous Zimbabweans.
Bosses who fail to do so could face a jail sentence.
Under the Act, the term indigenous Zimbabwean refers to anyone who, before independence in April 1980, "was subjected to unfair discrimination on the ground of their race, and includes a descendant of such a person."