HomeOpinionUS explains its policies towards Zimbabwe explained

US explains its policies towards Zimbabwe explained

“ILLEGAL Western sanctions” is now one of the most popular clichés in Zimbabwe’s national conversation.  The US Embassy would like to dispel five myths about the US’s position on Zimbabwe by stating clearly the real US policy towards Zimbabwe.

US sanctions not blocking Zim’s economic recovery
The US does not maintain sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe or the country of Zimbabwe.  US sanctions target individuals and entities that have undermined democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe.  More specifically, US sanctions target individuals who, among other things, are senior officials of the government of Zimbabwe, have participated in human rights abuses related to political repression and/or have engaged in activities facilitating public corruption by senior officials of the government of Zimbabwe. 
US sanctions also target entities owned or controlled by the Zimbabwean government or officials of the Zimbabwean government.  Unless a transaction involves a blocked individual or entity, US persons may, and are encouraged to, conduct business in, and trade with, Zimbabwe and its people.
The US Treasury Department updates targeted sanctions related to Zimbabwe by adding individuals or entities to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List) as new individuals or companies emerge, or are identified, who meet the criteria for designation, and by removing individuals or entities from the SDN List when they no longer meet the criteria for designation.
The US welcomes the opportunity to modify the targeted sanctions regime when blocked Zimbabwean officials demonstrate a clear commitment to respect the rule of law, democracy, and human rights. 
This includes genuine support for the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which was brokered by Sadc and agreed to by the leaders of Zimbabwe’s transitional government, and preparing for free, fair, and peaceful elections which will reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people. 
Targeted sanctions should not be used by Zimbabwe’s leaders as an excuse to abrogate their responsibilities towards their own people under the GPA.
US not preventing Zim’s access to financial aid

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economy Recovery Act (Zdera), signed into law in 2001, and provisions contained in subsequent appropriations acts, restrict the ability of the US to cast its vote in support of new assistance to Zimbabwe from international financial institutions (IFIs), except for programmes that meet basic human needs or promote democracy. 
Zimbabwe, however, was already, and remains, ineligible for multilateral loans before Zdera due to its arrears to the IFIs.  Zdera is not an obstacle to Zimbabwe’s economic recovery or its re-engagement with the IFIs.
US has no trade embargo against Zimbabwe
There is no US bilateral trade embargo against Zimbabwe.  Trade levels fluctuate, but in 10 of the past 12 years (with the exception of 2007 and 2009, when the global economic crisis affected nearly all markets), the trade balance between Zimbabwe and the US has favoured Zimbabwe, often by a large margin.
US has not cut off aid to
In fact, the US provided over US$300 million in 2009 and over US$200 million in 2010 for humanitarian, food, health and democracy and governance assistance to Zimbabwe.  In 2011, the US will continue to provide this level of assistance while also raising its commitment to fight HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe by US$10 million to a total of US$57,5 million and by adding Zimbabwe to the US president’s Malaria Initiative country list, resulting in an additional US$10 million to assist Zimbabwe’s national malaria control effort.
US not trying to impose own agenda on Zim, Africa
As President Barack Obama has said many times, Africa’s future is up to Africans.  The US supports the Zimbabwean people in their effort to fully realise the promise of democracy, human rights and economic development.  The US advocates full implementation of the GPA, and the holding of free and fair elections that will reflect the will of the majority of Zimbabweans. 
As President Obama has said, “development depends on good governance.  That is the change that can unlock Africa’s potential.  And it is a responsibility that can be met only by Africans”.  Political freedom and stability are in the interest of all
nations and all people who wish to enjoy lasting peace and prosperity.  The US is a partner and a friend in this effort.

Sharon Hudson-Dean is the Public Affairs Officer and Spokesperson for the US Embassy in Harare.

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