We don't need Zim, says US envoy

HARARE - Zimbabwe is so insignificant that only two percent of congressmen can spot the southern African country on the global map, at least according to a top United States diplomat.

This comes as Zanu PF gloats that the US is desperate to thaw relations which have been on ice for over a decade to access Zimbabwe’s resources.

But a visiting US envoy says folks in his country have no particular interest in Zimbabwe.

Andrew Young, a former US ambassador to the United Nations who met President Robert Mugabe during a visit this week said Zimbabwe is a tiny dot when it comes to US global interests although improved relations would be better for both countries.

“We do not need Zimbabwe, nothing changes in America if Zimbabwe does whatever it does.

“But we want to work with Zimbabwe, we are ready to move forward in building our relationship,” he said.

He was responding to a question from a journalist who was stressing on sanctions and the negative relations between Harare and Washington.

Young, who said he was airing his personal views, was speaking at a civil rights movement and non-violence discussion in Harare.

The top diplomat’s revelation also came after Zanu PF activist Goodson Nguni accused the British, the US and other Western countries of “hiding behind re-engagement” to “fool” Zanu PF ahead of elections.

Zimbabwe and the United States’ relationship went sour in 2001 when the global powerhouse imposed travel and financial sanctions on Mugabe and over 100 of his close military, governing and business associates.

The US claimed Mugabe had rigged elections and was involved in gross human rights abuses.

Mugabe claims the sanctions are revenge for his drive to repossess farms from white land barons to resettle landless blacks.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Reuben Brigety, who together with Young met Mugabe on Tuesday, said the meeting focussed on the future.

“We had an exceptional meeting with Mugabe for 90 minutes.

“He did not dwell on difficulties to our bilateral relationship.

“We came with a message that the United States is prepared to move to the full normalisation of relationships, which a peaceful and credible election will seal,” Brigety said.

He said Zimbabwe’s upcoming elections will be a crucial moment in defining relations but said the United States was ready to work with any Zimbabwean leader freely voted into power.

“The US government has no stake in who wins the elections.

“But we care that no one dies trying to express their choice,” Brigety said. - Bridget Mananavire

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