US rejects Mugabe call to lift sanctions

us_flag.jpgWASHINGTON - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government has "a long way to go" before Washington lifts sanctions on his inner circle, a US official said Thursday despite an appeal for their removal.

"We have not yet seen sufficient evidence from the government of
Zimbabwe that they are firmly and irrevocably on a path to inclusive
and effective governance, and as well as respect for human rights and
the rule of law,"

State Department Robert Wood told reporters.

"So that government has a long way to go before we will consider … easing sanctions with that government," Wood said.

"We’re not in any kind of discussion with … the government of Zimbabwe on removing our targeted sanctions," he added.

"We remain very concerned about the plight of the Zimbabwean people who
have been under such terrible suffering. And we’re going to continue to
try to help the people of Zimbabwe," he said.

"With regard to the government, it’s got a long way to go before we
will look at removing any targeted sanctions," according to the US

In Harare, Mugabe called for foreign aid to revive his nation’s
shattered economy and urged Washington and Brussels to end "cruel"
sanctions on his inner circle.

Mugabe issued the appeal at the launch of a new economic recovery plan prepared by the month-old unity government.

The European Union and the United States maintain a travel ban and
asset freeze on Mugabe and his inner circle in protest at controversial
elections and alleged human rights abuses by his government.

Although his long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai became prime minister in
a unity government last month, western countries say they will maintain
the sanctions until the 85-year-old leader proves he is ready to reform.

Zimbabwe’s once-dynamic economy has been crushed by world-record
hyperinflation and the collapse of farming, mining and manufacturing.

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