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Top US Diplomat for Africa Warns Zimbabwe Sanctions Could Be Widened

Rather than lifting targeted travel and financial sanctions as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has urged, the United States is considering adding names to its list of those subject to travel and financial restrictions, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnny Carson told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on policy options in Zimbabwe that the administration is now focusing on those who might benefit from mining ventures including operations in the Marange diamond field in Manicaland province, where human rights violations have been alleged.

He was responding to committee questions on how effective U.S. sanctions have been. The hearing was called to explore policy options for the ongoing transition in Zimbabwe.

In raising the possibility sanctions could be increased, Carson said that President Mugabe, who in a speech to the United Nations last week urged that U.S. and other Western sanctions be lifted, has effectively retained political control despite a power-sharing government.

Non-governmental policy experts urged continued humanitarian support to Zimbabwe.

Todd Moss, a vice-president and senior fellow of the Center for Global Development told the Senate committee that positive progress in Zimbabwe must be encouraged with additional aid as a simply adopting a wait-and-see attitude could result in a failed transition.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...