photo by jon nicholson

news - Mugabe Doesn't See US Sanctions Lifted Soon

september 24th, 2009

"Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Wednesday he was giving the US Obama administration time to lift sanctions its predecessor imposed on his country, saying he did not expect immediate action.

In an interview with Reuters, the veteran leader also said he would 'never' replace two key officials that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says he agreed to change under a power-sharing deal in the southern African country.

The Bush administration, which left power in January, slapped sanctions in 2003 on Mugabe and other prominent Zimbabweans accused of undermining democracy and later extended them. The European Union imposed measures of its own.

The power-sharing pact installed MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister in February, but the sanctions remain. An EU delegation that visited Zimbabwe this month said it was waiting to see that human rights abuses had ended.

Mugabe, visiting New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly, said he would tell the world body that the sanctions were unjustified and should be lifted.

But he added: 'We are giving time to the administration of (Barack) Obama to make their decision. They inherited sanctions, they found them on his desk and we don't expect him to get rid of them that quickly.'

Obama administration officials have given no indication they are considering lifting sanctions.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has blamed sanctions for the economic woes of Zimbabwe, which needs billions of dollars for recovery. Western countries accuse Mugabe of wrecking the African nation through mismanagement."

MORE: "Mugabe doesn't see US sanctions lifted soon" (Reuters)


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