We Are Assisting Zim Export Diamonds: US

Speaking at a policy dialogue meeting on the future of US-Zimbabwe relations in Bulawayo on Monday evening US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray said contrary to Zanu (PF) allegations that  restrictions imposed by the US government to senior Zanu (PF) officials were hurting the economy , the Washington administration  is actively promoting Zimbabwe’s economic recovery.

“We are working within the Kimberly Process to reach a consensus agreement to allow for Zimbabwe to export certified diamonds from Marange while ensuring that workers and local communities’ rights are respected “said Ambassador Ray.

The Ambassador said his government has got also a highly successful loan guarantee programme to pump the much needed capital back into the agricultural sector so as to promote food security and help the country to return to its rightful status as the breadbasket of the region.

“We are also working in the dairy , poultry , coffee , tea and niche horticulture sectors to add value to produce at the local level and establish market linkages within Zimbabwe and outside” he said.

 Ambassador  Ray also said his government will only consider the scrapping of personal restrictions imposed by America and the European union to senior Zanu (PF) officials when only the rule of the law return, state institutions are separated from partisan allegiance and when the country hold credible elections.

“As soon as the parties’ honour their commitments under the GPA to allow for a return of the rule of the law, once state institutions are separated from partisan allegiances, and once credible elections are held and honoured, there will be no reason to retain the few restrictions that are in place,” said Ambassador Ray.

Ambassador Ray pointed out that only 120 Zanu (PF) officials who own about 60 farms and companies are affected by the restrictions

“ Yes, it is true that , Americans cannot do business with about 120 Zimbabweans , about 60 of the farms or companies they own .But let me say that if this economy is that dependent on 120 people and a few dozen companies then we should be concerned about a lot more than just sanctions,” he said.

The ambassador said the first step to normalise the US –Zimbabwe relations is to recultivate the two country’s partnership.

“We hear a lot these days about Zimbabwe’s “re-engagement” with so-called western countries. I tend to dismiss that phrasing because we have never stopped engaging .We have always maintained full diplomatic relations,” he said. The policy dialogue meeting was organised Bulawayo Agenda.