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U.S Ambassador Says Targeted Sanctions Having Some Impact in Zimbabwe

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton.

United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr. Bruce Wharton, is defending his country's decision to maintain restrictive measures or targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe, despite calls by Zimbabwe's opposition leader for them to be removed.

In an interview with VOA Thursday, while on a visit to Washington, Movement for Democratic Change founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, said Mr. Mugabe and his government were using the sanctions as an excuse for the country's economic stagnation.

However, responding to this in an interview with Gibbs Dube of VOA's Zimbabwe Service, Mr. Wharton says the sanctions will remain in place in Zimbabwe as concerns around lack of democracy and rule of law remain.

The restrictive measures signed into law by former U.S. President George Bush, in 2001, essentially restrict travel to and business dealings with the U.S and American entities, including the International Monetary Fund, by President Robert Mugabe and some of his close political and business associates.

However, Mr. Mugabe's government has argued that the restrictions are impacting the country's economic growth, due to failure to access credit from such institutions as the IMF.

Mr. Wharton says the U.S. stance on the sanctions, has further been re-enforced by the disappearance of activist Itai Dzamara, allegedly by state agents, for calling on President Mugabe to resign.

Wharton further says all top political parties in the country are currently fighting for power at the expense of suffering Zimbabweans.

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Note that on Saturday Mr. Wharton speaks about projects in Zimbabwe being funded by the United States government.