US expands Zimbabwe sanctions

Washington warns of further restrictions if violence in Zimbabwe does not cease.

    Mugabe blames Western sanctions for the
    economic crisis in Zimbabwe[AFP]

    "He knows no law, he defies the United Nations, defies even his own Congress, so he's above everyone else, above the world, next to God, he thinks," he said as he arrived at parliament on Tuesday.

    Stern warning

    Frazer warned in a speech that the US will expand the sanctions further if violence in the country does not cease, saying "Mugabe's tyranny needs to end". 

    "I don't have any interest
    to visit to America,
    but as an individual, as a free man of the world, I would want to feel free to visit"

    Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president

    She did not identify the people affected by the travel sanctions, but she said they included nine state security officials and five adult children of Zimbabwean government officials studying in the United States.

    Mugabe rejected US claims that the sanctions were sanctioned and said that he was unworried by the travel restrictions.

    "I don't have any interest to visit to America, but as an individual, as a free man of the world, I would want to feel free to visit," he said

    Washington has already imposed travel and financial sanctions against 130 people with ties to Mugabe.

    Given Mugabe's escalated use of violence, "the United States will be imposing additional sanctions against the worst perpetrators of the regime's brutality ... and human rights abuses," Frazer said, speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. 

    She described Zimbabwe as an imploding country that "remains a powerful blight on sub-Saharan Africa", a region where she said democracy is on the rise and poverty on the decline.

    Economic problems

    David Coltart, an opposition Movement for Democratic Change politician, said that the country's leadership was the problem rather than the sanctions.

    "The problems that Zimbabwe faces has nothing to do with targeted sanctions. It has everything to do with the breakdown of the rule of law, with corruption, with misgovernance," he said.

    "Until we tackle those issues, even if the sanctions were lifted, the economic problems faced by Zimababwe will not be resolved."

    Zimbabwe is embroiled in its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980.

    Unemployment is around 80 per cent, and political unrest is high. Foreign investment, loans and development aid have dried up. Official inflation is 4,500 per cent, the highest in the world, although independent estimates put it substantially higher.

    Mugabe, 83, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence, blames the crisis on Western sanctions and rejects criticism that mismanagement caused the meltdown.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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