Zimbabwe on Wednesday slammed as a travesty of justice the “regrettable” year-long extension of sanctions targeted against selected government officials and institutions by the United States.
US President Donald Trump this week prolonged the sanctions, first imposed in 2003, on more than 100 individuals and entities — including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his predecessor Robert Mugabe — over human rights abuses.
Trump also said the individuals posed “an unusual and extraordinary threat” to US foreign policy.
“Zimbabwe has no history of aggression against any nation, so the statement that ‘Zimbabwe poses an extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States’ is absurd,” said Information Ministry Secretary Nick Mangwana in a statement cited by the state-media daily The Herald.
“The continued unilateral imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe by the United States is a travesty of justice against the Zimbabwean people,” said Mangwana.
Since the removal of long-time ruler Mugabe with the help of the military in November 2017, the new government has been on campaign to re-engage internationally, especially with the West.
“We… expect our warm gestures to be reciprocated and to witness a shift in US foreign policy on Zimbabwe as the logical dividend,” added Mangwana.
Foreign Affairs secretary James Manzou told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that while the US sanctions “regrettably remains in place, the ministry believes that the new dispensation (government) has laid firm a foundation for future relations with the United States”.
The extension of US sanctions comes days ahead of a visit to Zimbabwe next week by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa has led calls by African leaders for the lifting of sanctions imposed by Western powers over rights abuse under Mugabe’s regime.