No arms sales to Zim

The United States will not lift the ban on the sales of defence equipment to Zimbabwe, although other restrictions are under review.

The gunrunning ban was imposed by Washington in 2001, together with restrictions on certain Zanu (PF) individuals and companies, because of human rights abuses by the government of President Robert Mugabe.

Diplomatic sources said there was no way Washington could okay gun sales to Harare when Section 14 of the ZDERA repeal act currently before Congress says "as many as 400 members and supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change were killed during the run-off campaign period."

''For as long as Mugabe and his party continue to subvert the democratic process, wages a campaign of violence and intimidation against its political opposition and demonstrates a blatant disregard for the rule of law, there is nothing to warrant any lifting of the ban,'' said a senior Western diplomat in Harare.

It is understood, however, that the US government can make exceptions to the ban on a case by case basis.

Travel restrictions on Mugabe and his associates will be maintained until they take meaningful steps to respect the rule of law and human rights.

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