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U.S. Treasury: Sanctions Modified for 2 Zimbabwe Banks

The United States Treasury Department on Wednesday issued a general license authorizing transactions involving two banks in Zimbabwe which were part of entities under targeted sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe, his inner circle and companies linked to Zanu PF.

In a statement, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control authorized transactions with the Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe and the Infrastucture Development Bank of Zimbabwe.

It said transactions should be done provided they do not involve any person whose property and interests are on the sanctions list.

John Sullivan, spokesperson for the Treasury Department, told VOA that both Zimbabwean banks remain on the sanctions list, but this license allows US financial institutions to conduct some business transactions with them.

For example, said Mr. Sullivan, the license should make it easier for Zimbabwean expatriates in the US, American businesses, and American international development organizations (NGOs) to send money to Zimbabwe.

The United States imposed sanctions on President Mmugabe, his inner circle and firms linked to Zanu PF in 2002 citing rights abuses and poll rigging allegations in the 2002 presidential election.

The European Union, which also imposed targeted sanctions on Mr. Mugabe and his inner circle, has since suspended the measures, leaving the president and a few others on the list, mainly security service chiefs.

The U.S Congress passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act in 2001 in an effort to force the country to promote democracy and economic recovery following the disputed elections.

VOA contacted the US State Department to ask precisely why sanctions against Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe and the Infrastucture Development Bank of Zimbabwe were changed. At the time of publication, VOA had not received a response.