Changing life in Zimbabwe 'difficult': Clinton

“It’s a very sobering situation, it’s a very sad one indeed because the ruling party, the ruling clique within that party continues to benefit from aid, benefit from the diamond trade, benefit from corruption to a very significant degree,” Clinton told a seminar at the State Department.

“People are suffering,” she stressed.

“We’re trying to walk a line between supporting the people, keeping the pressure on the (Robert) Mugabe leadership, working with South Africa to try to get that message across,” Clinton said.

“But I’m not going to stand here and say we have some perfect formula, because it’s extremely difficult to try to do what we’re doing, and (make) a difference for the people of Zimbabwe, but we’re going to persist in doing so,” the top US diplomat said.

In March, President Barack Obama’s administration extended for a year sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980, controls the military under Zimbabwe’s power-sharing regime.

A new report from campaign group Global Witness meanwhile said Monday Zimbabwe’s political and military elites are using violence and their links to companies to exploit the country’s diamond wealth.

The campaigners also criticized the Kimberley Process (KP) certification scheme, created to prevent the sale of “blood diamonds,” for what they said was its weak response to Zimbabwe’s diamond industry problems.

The report, released in London, came ahead of a Kimberley meeting next week in Israel where Zimbabwe is set to dominate talks.

Mugabe has threatened to pull out of the diamonds-trade-monitoring Kimberley Process if the country is not allowed to sell its gems. AFP