The United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, says he regrets the relationship between the two countries is strained -- a situation he blames on changes in Zimbabwean government policy. Since independence, he says, the government has moved away from respect for democracy, human rights, property and rules of the market economy.
Ambassador Dell told reporter Safari Njema that he disagrees with allegations by the government of President Robert Mugabe that sanctions by the West are behind the country’s deteriorating economy. Ambassador Dell says that it’s Harare's policies that discourage foreign investment -- and not sanctions -- that are contributing to the country’s economic decline. He explains that Western sanctions are limited and targeted against, for example, 86 ruling party leaders, and not the country as a whole. He added that the US has spent 300 million dollars in food aid to Zimbabwe over the past five years, and that the US government – unlike that of Zimbabwe – does not use food as a weapon.