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Clinton Says US To Keep Pressure On Zimbabwe's Mugabe & Diamond 'Clique'


US Secretary of State Clinton said the 'ruling clique' within President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party 'continues to benefit from aid, benefit from the diamond trade, benefit from corruption to a very significant degree'

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s ruling clique continues to benefit from corruption and trade in diamonds as ordinary Zimbabweans suffer.

Clinton told a seminar at the State Department that the United States will maintain pressure on Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. She said it has been difficult to bring change to an unfortunate situation in the country.

"It's a very sobering situation," Clinton told the seminar on Sub-Saharan Africa, "it's a very sad one indeed because the ruling party, the ruling clique within that party continues to benefit from aid, benefit from the diamond trade, benefit from corruption to a very significant degree." She added: "People are suffering.'

Clinton said the United States is "trying to walk a line between supporting the people, keeping the pressure on the Mugabe leadership, working with South Africa to try to get that message across."

But, "I'm not going to stand here and say we have some perfect formula, because it's extremely difficult to try to do what we're doing, and (make) a difference for the people of Zimbabwe, but we're going to persist in doing so."

Her comments closely followed a report from advocacy group Global Witness saying Zimbabwe's political and military elites are using violence and links to companies working in the Marange field to loot diamond wealth. The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme has also come under fire for what its critics call weak action in Zimbabwe.

Political analyst Joy Mabenge of the South African-based Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that Clinton was right on target.

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