United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray has said that Washington would not oppose the restoration of Zimbabwe’s voting rights in the International Monetary Fund.
Observers said the statement by Ray, reported by the state-controlled Herald newspaper based on a brief interview after Ray met with Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, represented a significant milestone in the restoration of normal US-Zimbabwean bilateral relations.
But U.S. Embassy spokesman Tim Gerhardson told VOA that Ray added in the Herald interview that the United States would not table or initiate a motion for the restoration of Harare's IMF voting rights.
Even if Zimbabwe's voting rights are restored, it would still have to deal with its external debts of approximately US$6 billion, more than US$1 billion of which is owed to the IMF, the World Bank and other multilateral institutions, which insist arrears be cleared before they can make new loans to Harare.
European and US diplomatic sources add that the targeted sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and other top ZANU-PF officials and supporters will stay in place until the West sees more substantial reform in Harare.
Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that the U.S. shift is a vote of confidence in Harare’s economic policies.