Monday, September 20, 2010

Zimbabwe Questions United States Sincerity

Zim questions US sincerity

From Mabasa Sasa in New York, USA
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe has questioned America’s sincerity to the re-engagement dialogue scheduled for later this week following the denial of a visa to a journalist who was due to cover the ongoing United Nations meeting.

Last week, the US denied visas to two members of the Zimbabwe delegation to the 65th Session of the General Assembly and the Millennium Development Goals Summit.

However, after pressure from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UN Secretary-General’s Office, the US Embassy in Harare relented and granted passage to one of them.

By hosting the UN Headquarters, the United States has a binding obligation to allow all members access to the facilities.

In an interview yesterday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity, Mr George Charamba, said the US was acting in contravention of UN agreements.

"It is a very unwarranted action, which defies all logic and thought, and has neither rhyme nor reason.

"In two days’ time the American government is going to hold formal talks with Zimbabwe.

"They have themselves invited a delegation of the inclusive Government here, and it will be led by Minister (Elton) Mangoma.

"How can they on one hand say they want to engage in dialogue and invite a delegation here while at the same time they deny visas to an official delegation to a UN meeting?

"What are they communicating by exhibiting such hostility? Maybe the American ambassador in Harare can tell Government what exactly they are communicating by acting in such a manner," he said. ZBC’s chief correspondent Reuben Barwe was denied a visa at the time the delegation left for New York, with embassy officials understood to have promised to issue one in time to allow him to attend the General Assembly.

By yesterday, this had not been done.

Mr Charamba said: "They had denied visas to two members of the delegation. The other one only got it at the airport after intense and persistent pressure through the machinery of Government.

"A deputation was also sent to the UN Secretary-General and we shall continue applying this pressure on the US government.

"Why America has decided to zero in on a journalist, I can’t fathom. Perhaps they want to smother the voice of Zimbabwe so that we can’t report to the world the grievances of illegal sanctions imposed on us by the Americans and their friends. Obviously this is futile and we shall continue to speak out, visas or no visas. Let the world recognise how unfair America has consistently been on Zimbabwe."

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