— The United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, says his country is ready to re-engage Harare though the so-called targeted measures against President Robert Mugabe and members of his inner circle will remain in place.
Ambassador Wharton, who started official duties Thursday, made the remarks during a discussion with editors from the independent media in Harare.
State media editors did not turn up for the briefing though they had been invited.
He said as far as America was concerned, the targeted sanctions did not affect the generality of Zimbabweans, adding that they only affect a few individuals and companies that are linked to them, among them Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources and state firms like the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.
Standard newspaper Editor, Nevanji Madanhire, told Wharton the general view in the country was that those on the sanctions list were not feeling the pinch and are in fact getting richer as the poor are getting poorer.
Wharton said he would strive during this tenure to work hard to ensure Washington understands Harare better, adding that part of his efforts would include encouraging top American politicians to visit Zimbabwe.
He said it was important for Zimbabwe to have transparent elections next year.
Wharton, who saved as public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Harare from 1999 to 2003, presented his credentials to President Robert Mugabe on Thursday, marking the start of his tour of duty in Zimbabwe.
Report By Irwin Chifera