President Robert Mugabe says the West should remove targeted sanctions imposed on him and his inner circle a few years ago, claiming that Zimbabwe won’t achieve set United Nations development goals if the restrictive measures are maintained.
Mr. Mugabe made these remarks on Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly at a time when protesters inside and outside the country are demanding that he should step down.
The president said the western nations are punishing his country for possessing a lot of mineral wealth, which they want to exploit for their own benefit.
“We are being punished for exercising the one primordial principle enshrined in the United Nations Charter that of sovereign independence. We are being punished for what all other nations have done and still do that is possess … own their natural resources and listen to the basic interest of their people.
“Those who have imposed these sanctions would rather have us pander to their interests at the expense of the basic needs of the majority of our people. As long as these economic and financial sanctions remain in place, Zimbabwe’s capacity to fully and effectively implement Agenda 2030 will be deeply curtailed.”
Mr. Mugabe urged nations that imposed the targeted sanctions to remove them for the benefit of his country, which he has ruled since independence from British rule in 1980.
“I repeat my call to Britain, Europe and the United States and their allies to remove the illegal and unjustified sanctions against my country and its people.”
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development comprises 17 goals that officially replaced and expanded the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000.
As was the aim of the MDGs, the new goals lay out a framework to eradicate poverty and hunger, reduce inequality, enhance access to water, sanitation and education, protect the planet, among other goals and targets, over the next 14 years or 2030.
The president further noted that he is happy with the process of looking for a new United Nations secretary general to replace Ban ki Moon, whose term of office ends soon.
However, he said more still needs to be done in terms of transforming the United Nations Security Council, which noted is being dominated by powerful nations.
African nations have been demanding some permanent seats in the Security Council.
While the president was presenting his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, some Zimbabweans living in USA were protesting outside the U.N headquarters urging him to step down for allegedly failing to properly run the country.
At the same time, members of the December 12 Movement contested for space outside the U.N to show their solidarity for President Mugabe.
The organization supports Mr. Mugabe for what they say is his tough stance against the West and nations with a so-called neo-colonialist agenda.
Back home, some Zimbabweans have been staging protests pressing the president to step down.