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Ambassador: U.S Wants to Improve Relations With Zimbabwe

Ambassador Bruce Wharton
The United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, says the America is adopting a wait and see attitude regarding President Robert Mugabe’s new cabinet that has been dismissed by some as having too many recycled people who may fail to deliver.

Mr. Wharton, who was in Mutare on Thursday, said the U.S would want to improve relations with Harare, adding the ball is squarely in President Mugabe’s court.

Addressing journalists in the eastern border city, Mr. Wharton said his country remains committed to working with Zimbabwe, noting that they are happy to build on what he said was new ground for engagement and re-engagement.

He said Harare should act in good faith and deliver on policies that will improve the lives of the people, especially through lifting the country out of poverty and reviving the economy.

Mr. Wharton praised the government for holding peaceful elections in July despite what he said were shortcomings, including the absence of media and security sector reforms, among others.

The ambassador said the so-called targeted sanctions imposed on 113 Zanu-PF officials and 70 entities linked to them would remain in force as a way of encouraging President Mugabe and the ruling elite to make decisions that help the country and not individuals.

He said it’s unfortunate that the targeted sanctions also hurt innocent people, but termed that as collateral damage.

The ambassador also said America has and will continue to assist underprivileged communities in the areas of agriculture, health and education.

He met with more than a dozen journalists from both the private and state media in the city of Mutare and was scheduled to speak with political party representatives and the business community later in the day.

Mr. Wharton said soon after the country’s elections that the new cabinet would signal which way relations between the two countries would go as it would also prove which direction Harare wants to take Zimbabwe.