Archive for the ‘Washington’ Category

Zimbabwean authorities received a warning on
Monday from the United States , over the
country ‘s growing cooperation with Iran ‘s
controversial nuclear programme .
P. J . Crowley , a spokesperson for the US State
Department , issued a strong statement warning
Zimbabwe that cooperating with Iran on its
nuclear programme would violate existing UN
resolutions. He said Zimbabwe could face
international penalties if it helped with Iran ‘s
nuclear development .
The State Department warning came after
Zimbabwe’s foreign minister , Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi, made statements suggesting
that UN sanctions on Iran are unfair and
hypocritical .
” The foreign minister of Zimbabwe is entitled to
his opinion but the government of Zimbabwe is
still bound by its commitments to the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and relevant U . N .
Security Council resolutions ,” Crowley told
reporters.
He said helping Iran to extract uranium would
violate U . N . Security Council resolutions and
” There are ramifications for countries that
decline to observe their international
obligations . “
Officials from Iran and Zimbabwe have been
holding talks to find a way to utilize large
reserves of uranium that were discovered in
Zimbabwe. It is known that Iran ‘ s foreign
minister visited Zimbabwe ” secretly ” in January
to assess the situation . After the visit, Robert
Mugabe denied reports that Iran had secured
uranium rights, but made statements suggesting
Iran had the right to ask for it .
Iran needs the uranium ore for its ambitious
and secretive nuclear development and
Zimbabwe does not have the expensive
equipment needed to process it. The US and its
UN allies believe Iran secretly wants to develop
nuclear weapons . Iran ‘s refusal to cooperate
with the UN Atomic watchdog has led to military
sanctions .
Noting that both Zimbabwe and Iran have been
criticized for harsh human rights abuses ,
Crowley joked: ” It would be quite a match for
Zimbabwe and Iran to cooperate ” on uranium
mining.

By Tererai Karimakwenda
9 March 2011
Sw radio Aftica
Allafrica.com

Harare , Zimbabwe (CNN) — Washington has
ruled out lifting sanctions on Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle
until the regime shows a greater respect for
human rights, said a U . S . official visiting the
southern African nation Friday .
Susan Page, the deputy assistant secretary for
African affairs , said the United States was
concerned by the recent rise in ” political
violence , wanton intimidation of the public , and
partisan arrests and prosecutions . “
She applauded Mugabe ‘s statement last week
calling for an end to the violence but questioned
whether that message was filtering down to his
security forces.
” We hope President Mugabe, as head of state
and commander in chief of the armed forces,
also conveys that message to the police and
security services, ” Page said. ” The credibility of
that statement , however , ultimately will be
reflected in if or how it is honoured . “
Page said if Mugabe’ s party wants to play a
constructive role, ” it must reject the use of
violence and fear in its operations. “
Mugabe ‘s critics accuse the longtime ruler of
using violent means to hush his political
opponents, who are part of a unity government
that Mugabe wants ended .
In recent days , police in Zimbabwe have
arrested dozens of political activists, students
and trade union members for allegedly plotting
an Egyptian-style uprising . Defense attorneys
have reported torture of the detainees .
U . S . State Department Spokesman P . J . Crowley
said the activists were charged with treason and
urged Mugabe’ s government to uphold
international human rights laws and ensure due
process for those arrested.
The United States and the European Union
imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe in 2002.
Mugabe blames those sanctions for his
country ‘ s woes — which late last year included a
90 % unemployment and an inflation rate of
231, 000,000% – – and threatened to seize all
Western -owned investments in the country
unless sanctions were lifted .
Mugabe has held power since Zimbabwe
became independent in 1980 . In 2009 , he
formed a coalition government with challenger
Morgan Tsvangirai, who was named prime
minister .
But last December , Mugabe announced he was
tired of working with the opposition party ,
which he said ” lacked ideology and policies ” and
called for an election this year .
Tsvangirai , however , has threatened to boycott
the poll if a referendum on a new constitution is
not held .

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 4 , 2011 — Updated 1855 GMT ( 0255
HKT )
CNN.com

Washington (CNN) — The United States
expressed concern Thursday about recent
arrests in Zimbabwe of political and civil society
activists and allegations by their lawyer that
some of them were tortured.
On February 19 , former Movement for
Democratic Change Member of Parliament
Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 other labor union
and student activists ” who had gathered
peacefully to discuss recent events in Egypt “
were arrested and charged with treason , State
Department spokesman Philip J . Crowley said in
a statement .
Other political and civil society activists have
also been arrested, he said.
” Gwisai ‘ s defense attorney has reported that
several of the 46 people were tortured while in
custody, and we understand that the magistrate
has ordered physical examinations to
substantiate those claims,” he said. ” We call on
the government to provide medical attention for
those who need it and , if torture occurred , to
take immediate action to hold the perpetrators
accountable . “
A ruling on the charges’ merits is to be delivered
March 7 .
Crowley called on the government of Zimbabwe
to uphold rights spelled out under the
International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and to ensure that those arrested are
guaranteed due process .
Zimbabwean authorities said the 46 people were
arrested and charged with treason after they
were caught watching footage of the protests
that led to the ouster of Tunisian leader Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak .
” On 16 February they held a meeting and the
purpose of the meeting was to organize,
strategize and implement the removal of a
constitutional government of Zimbabwe by
unconstitutional means , the Tunisian-Egyptian
way ,” prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba said last
week in court .
At least 12 of the activists were beaten with
broomsticks on their buttocks and the soles of
their feet, defense attorney Alec Muchadehama
told a packed courtroom on Thursday . All 46
defendants were charged with treason, a charge
that carries a death sentence in Zimbabwe.
” If watching television footage of the uprisings
was treason, most Zimbabweans would be guilty
of it because we watch news daily,”
Muchadehama said .
Robert Mugabe, 87 , has ruled Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980 . Like Mubarak and Ben
Ali , he has been accused of rigging elections and
instituting repressive laws to tighten his grip on
power .
The arrests may be an indication that authorities
are worried that the changes sweeping across
north Africa may inspire Zimbabweans to rise
up . The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, MDC, which is in a troubled unity
government with Mugabe’ s ZANU-PF , has called
the arrests ” an abuse of state machinery by
ZANU-PF to suppress the people’s views . “
Mugabe ‘s policies over the past decade have
been blamed for plunging the once-prosperous
country into economic crisis . Mugabe has called
for an election this year , but his political rival
and leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, has
threatened to boycott the poll if a referendum
on a new constitution is not held .

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 4 , 2011 — Updated 0151 GMT ( 0951
HKT )