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Africa

Obama extends sanctions against Mugabe regime

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2010-03-02

The USA will extend sanctions against Robert Mugabe's regime for another year. The sanctions include a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe, his wife and inner circle.

AFP - President Barack Obama announced Monday he was extending US sanctions on Robert Mugabe's regime for another year, saying Zimbabwe's deep political crisis remained unresolved.

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

"I am continuing for one year the national emergency with respect to the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes or institutions," Obama said in a statement.

In July 2008, the US Treasury Department tightened the screws on sanctions against the Mugabe regime one last time under former president George W. Bush, slapping punitive measures against 17 companies or entities and an Omani national for their links to the government.

The southern African country is struggling to recover from a crisis that saw inflation peak at 321 million percent and supermarkets run out of food.

The crisis forced Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai to form a power-sharing government last year to mend the economy and ease political tensions in the aftermath of a presidential run-off election in which Mugabe was sole candidate.

But economic recovery has not been as fast as anticipated while political tensions persist.

"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," added Obama, who has labeled Mugabe a "dictator."

"These actions and policies continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States. For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue this national emergency and to maintain in force the sanctions to respond to this threat."

Zimbabwe's descent into political and economic crisis began 10 years ago, when Mugabe lost a referendum on a new constitution that would have expanded the powers of a man who has ruled since independence in 1980.
  

Date created : 2010-03-02

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