Accessibility links

US Backs Zimbabwe Accord But Withholds Aid Decisions


The United States says Zimbabwe's political power-sharing deal is heartening. But the Bush administration is not ready to lift sanctions on the Harare government until it is clear that the accord - under which President Robert Mugabe is to cede some powers for the first time - will actually be implemented. VOA's David Gollust reports from the State Department.

State Department officials are still analyzing terms of the intricate political accord, understood to be more than 50 pages long.

But they say the fact that Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, supports and is comfortable with the accord means it also has U.S. support, though officials here stress that it must be faithfully implemented.

The United States has been a sharp critic of President Robert Mugabe's nearly-three decades of rule, especially in recent years when the Zimbabwean leader curbed human rights and is accused of widespread election abuses.

At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack called the agreement - under which Mr. Tsvangirai will share power with President Mugabe as prime minister - a heartening development after years of turmoil.

But he said it needs to be faithfully implemented in both letter and spirit to reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people as expressed in this year's elections.

"It is heartening that you see Zimbabwe politics get to the point where you can have an agreement that the opposition and the current regime both agree on, and agree will be implemented," McCormack said. "We will see how this plays out. But certainly it is a good moment for Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC that they have gotten to the point where they can negotiate this kind of agreement."

The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe because of human-rights and election abuses, largely targeted against President Mugabe and close associates.

The Bush administration has made clear its readiness to join others in helping revive the country's crippled economy if the political crisis is resolved.

A senior official who spoke to reporters here said the political agreement signed Monday appears to have been openly and freely accepted by the opposition, without any coercion.

But he was non-committal about the United States lifting sanctions or joining in an economic rescue plan without further study of the accord, and its full implementation.

XS
SM
MD
LG