US has no plans to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe

March 6th, 2009 - 2:13 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, March 6 (DPA) The US plans to keep sanctions in place on Zimbabwe until President Robert Mugabe ends political repression in the troubled African country, the State Department said Thursday.
Mugabe must release political prisoners, end violence and intimidation against dissidents, and earnestly commit to share power under the agreement with opposition leaders reached earlier this year, the State Department’s acting deputy spokesman, Gordon Duguid, said.

“We don’t see a lifting of sanctions at this time as being particularly helpful because we have not seen any change come out of the coalition government as far as the Mugabe side is concerned,” Duguid said.

President Barack Obama Wednesday ordered a one-year extension of sanctions that included travel bans and assets freezes against Mugabe and his top officials and associates. Former president George W. Bush first imposed the sanctions in 2003 and subsequently in 2005 and 2008.

Obama told Congress in a memorandum that Mugabe has not lived up to expectations under the coalition government formed between his ZANU-PF party and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change.

“The crisis constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions has not been resolved,” Obama said. “These actions and policies pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.”

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