U.S Diplomats Have Ruled Out Change in Policy With Zimbabwe

President-Robert-Mugabe-of-ZimbabweHARARE, ZIMBABWE—Two visiting U.S. diplomats have ruled out a change of policy with Zimbabwe.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Harare, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Shannon Smith said the United States would not relax travel bans and other sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his leadership as the European Union did earlier this year.

“We certainly talk to our colleagues in [the] European Union. We certainly leave discussions of their policies to them. We all continue to share the goals that we expressed today,” said Smith.

“They will make their choices about to best pursue them. We are not here to announce any policy changes. The United States, though we want to emphasize, we want Zimbabwe to prosper,” she said. “We engage in activities to support economic development, as well as in health, education, [and] agriculture as well as in democratic institutions.”

Rare visit

The four-day visit of two U.S. diplomats to Zimbabwe is a rare occurrence in recent years because of frosty Washington-Harare relations. The United States, along with many other Western countries, imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe’s leadership in 2002 following reports of election rigging and human rights abuses.

The United States remains the leading provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, though, in areas of food aid, HIV/AIDS prevention programs, democracy, humanitarian assistance, economic growth, agriculture and health infrastructure support.

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