New US Bill Seeks To Review Zimbabwe Sanctions

The bill, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) of 2001,  introduced wide ranging sanctions on the southern African country.

Sponsored by Senator Feingold along with Republican Senator Johny Isakson and fellow Democrat Senator John Kerry, the proposed Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act will seek to direct new US policy towards Zimbabwe.

The Bill seeks among other things to a create a statement of US policy towards Zimbabwe, provide for technical assistance to the unity government, support land reforms and take action to stop illegal diamond deals.

The US and its European Union counterparts have maintained sanctions on Zimbabwe despite the formation of the unity government between President Robert Mugabe and his former arch rival and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

“The bill states that the US should continue to provide humanitarian assistance, promote trade between US companies and Zimbabwe push for the implementation of the power sharing agreement,” said a summary of the debate on the bill.

ZDERA is being amended to reward the transitional government and allows for debt relief and multilateral financing.

But it was widely beleived the measures were unlikely to end the travel restrictions and asset freeze imposed on Mugabe and his inner circle for alleged human rights violations.

However, the senators also want US president Barack Obama to be able to push for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Kimberley Process. Daily Nation