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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Will Make United Nations Appeal Against Western Sanctions

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe will make use of his opportunity to address the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to tell the gathering that Western targeted sanctions on his government are illegal and should be lifted.

Zimbabwe's U.N. ambassador, Boniface Chidyausiku, said President Mugabe will make the case to the assembly that the U.S. Zimbabwe Democracy Act has prevented international institutions and private investors from bringing capital to Zimbabwe.

Chidyausiku said that if the United States, Britain and other Western nations sincerely want to help the Zimbabwean people, they should stop shedding "crocodile tears" and lift the sanctions, which he said are the main cause of growing poverty.

U.S. and other Western officials have often stated that the sanctions target President Mugabe and senior officials of his government and the ruling ZANU-PF party, barring them from traveling in countries setting such sanctions, and allowing assets in those countries to be frozen if identified. The sanctions also prohibit commerce with Zimbabwean companies controlled by individuals on the sanctions list.

U.S., British, Australian and other officials are also at pains to note that their countries provide millions in food assistance and help in fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Mugabe's critics say misgovernance and corruption led to economic collapse, more specifically chaotic land redistribution that destabilized the key farming sector.

Chidyausiku told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his country will present its case against the sanctions alongside Cuba when Havana addresses the impact of the U.S. embargo on commerce with the island nation.

Zimbabwean analyst Chido Makunike said Mr. Mugabe and his government need to move beyond blaming the problems in the country on the Western sanctions and focus on the reasons for the sanctions and ways in which they can work around them.

Makunike said that urging the U.N. to lift the sanctions "is a waste of time" as it is not in a position to so so, thus the appeal is a mere "emotional sounding board."

U.N. sources said President Mugabe arrived in New York on Sunday. He left Harare late Friday and had been scheduled to make a stopover in Cairo.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...