NEW YORK —
President Robert Mugabe on Thursday castigated Western-imposed sanctions against Harare at the United Nations General Assembly calling them evil and diabolical.
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, the Zimbabwean leader called for the immediate and unconditional removal of the measures, charging the United States and the European Union are maintaining the sanctions as an illegal policy tool to effect regime change in the country.
He called on the international community to condemn the sanctions.
“Because Zimbabwe has thus been pre-occupied with the empowerment of its people economically, she has become a victim of the evil machinations of Western countries who continually apply unilateral and illegal sanctions as a foreign policy tool to achieve short-term political objectives, particularly regime change,” Mr. Mugabe said.
“Regime change is a diabolical illegal policy of interference in the domestic affairs of my country and no good can come from undermining our economy, or depriving our citizens of the necessities of life.”
The EU, the United States and other countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada imposed the so-called targeted sanctions against Mr. Mugabe and members of his inner circle in 2002 citing alleged poll rigging and human rights abuses.
Harare maintains the sanctions were imposed as a measure to punish the country for embarking on a land reform program that disposed white commercial farmers.
“Why, I ask, should Zimbabweans continue to suffer under the yoke of unjustified and unwarranted illegal sanctions,” said Mr. Mugabe.
“These evil sanctions violate the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and should be condemned by the international community.”
He said the sanctions are against the founding principles of the United Nations, calling on the international community to condemn them as he called for the immediate and unconditional removal of the measures.
He said Zimbabwe was a peaceful nation, ready to engage in constructive dialogue for mutual beneficial relations.
“We call on those who continue to harbor ill will against us to cast away their hegemony-driven hostility as we appeal to them to review their hard positions and open a new chapter in their relations with us,” said Mr. Mugabe.
He also called for the expeditious reform of the Bretton Woods Institutions – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank – as the world discusses and starts implementing the post 2015 development agenda.
“It is high time that we addressed the democratic deficit in these institutions and improve their legitimacy,” Mr. Mugabe charged.
“These reforms must reflect current realities and ensure the full voice and participation of developing countries in their decision-making and norm-setting.”
He said the post MDG agenda should be informed by national development priorities, and that new targets must better reflect local conditions.
He also spoke about the Zimbabwe Agenda for Social and Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET) saying Zimbabwe embarked on the program as part of the post-2015 development agenda.
“This is a bold and achievable development programme that has the objective of achieving inclusive growth, generation of decent jobs for all, affordable and reliable energy, food security, sustainable agriculture and development of reliable modern infrastructure,” said the President.
He lauded the land reform program for empowering the black majority people in the country.
Mr. Mugabe said Zimbabwe was concerned about the situation between Palestine and Israel.
“We continue to witness the suffering and persecution of the people of Palestine at the hands of Israel,” he said.
“We have witnessed the callous murder of women and children in shelters where they seek refuge from Israel’s bombs… and while these heinous acts were being perpetrated by Israel, the so-called civilized world maintained a deafening silence.”
He said lasting peace in the Middle East can only be achieved through a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.
“Any other manoeuvres to change demographic realities through settlements or use of force will only prolong the suffering of the Palestinians.