The US has stated that it will continue to impose targeted asset freezes on 106 people and 70 entities in Zimbabwe. This follows President Obama’s decision in March to extend the underlying sanctions regime against the country for a further year (see previous blog here).
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Shannon Smith confirmed after a recent trip to Zimbabwe that the US was maintaining its existing policy, but emphasised that the sanctions were “very targeted” and were not the cause of Zimbabwe’s economic troubles, pointing instead to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report that places Zimbabwe 171st out of 189 economies. US sanctions on Zimbabwe were first imposed in 2003 and target those involved in human rights abuses or corruption in the country. Ms Smith added that “We strive to balance our targeted sanctions on those who have impinged upon human rights and the rule of law with our encouragement of economic reforms and investment”.
Ms Smith also stated that the US did not feel “pressured” by the European Union’s decision last year to lift its EU-wide travel bans and asset freezes against all but Robert Mugabe, Grace Mugabe, and Zimbabwe Defence Industries, adding that the two powers “continue to share…the same fundamental goals of seeing a freer, democratic Zimbabwe that adheres to the rule of law and other standards”.