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Outgoing U.S. Ambassador Concerned Zimbabwe Election Violence May Resurface

Outgoing United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, says the U.S. government will increase hiv funding in zimbabwe by 60 percent under the president’s emergency fund for aids relief or pepfar to ensure more people living with the killer virus get life-saving anti-retroviral drugs

in his farewell media briefing in harare where he also expressed fears that the country’s next elections could be violent, judging by recent violence incidences, ray said washington will bring the total u.s. funding on hiv/aids interventions in zimbabwe to $92 million.

ray said the funds will support voluntary male circumcision efforts, among other programs.

ambassador ray said the u-s will change its sanctions policy on harare when conditions that led america and other western nations to impose the targeted measures have been adequately addressed.

the u-s and the european union imposed sanctions on president mugabe and his close associates in 2002 in response to what they say were massive rights abuses, political violence and vote rigging.

ray expressed concern over continued incidences of violence in the country. he said the u-s not against president robert mugabe as an individual but the blatant disregard for human rights and other democratic principles.

he said the u-s is prepared to work with president mugabe if he wins a credible election.

voa-english-to-africa also reports that ray said the military should stay out of politics, remain professional and concentrate on defending the nation.

ray said his tour of duty in zimbabwe was focused on promoting a cordial and professional relationship between washington and harare.

he said his government has spent billions of dollars in humanitarian aid to zimbabwe and is also supporting the constitution-making process.

bruce wharton, who's not new to zimbabwe after serving as the u.s. public affairs officer in harare from 1999 to 2003, will replace ambassador ray, if confirmed.