LATEST: Top US official reveals who President Donald Trump’s sanctions are targeting and why

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The US State Department has explained the extension of sanctions against Zimbabwe. The department’s deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino answers questions on Zimbabwe sanctions from American media during a press briefing on Thursday in Washington DC.

Part of the questions and answer session is given below:

QUESTION: And then on Zimbabwe, please, yesterday the – or the day before that the President Trump extended the sanctions against Zimbabwe. It comes at a time when African leaders want those sanctions lifted. Is there any – why did the President extend them, and is there any discussions going on with the new government to lift some or all of them?

MR PALLADINO: Right, so you’re referring to the March 4th renewal?

QUESTION: Correct, which the President put out.

MR PALLADINO: Right, which would maintain targeted sanctions on individuals and entities in Zimbabwe that are responsible for undermining democratic processes and institutions.

QUESTION: Correct.

MR PALLADINO: The basis of that is something that is renewed annually and has been done for – yeah, the basis – that is the basis of law.

QUESTION: I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking.

MR PALLADINO: Yes. It’s done under – it’s in pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which are various executive orders under that – that fall under that.

QUESTION: So you believe that nothing has improved under the new government?

MR PALLADINO: I would say that these sanctions target certain persons and senior – who are senior officials in the Government of Zimbabwe that have participated in human rights abuses related to political repression, or they’ve engaged in facilitating public corruption by senior officials. This is not comprehensive sanctions; this is targeted sanctions against specific individuals. And the renewal that was – that took place on the 4th is – does not add any new names. It is simply a renewal of the sanctions that were – targeted sanctions that were already in place, and I’ll – does that —

QUESTION: So nothing’s improved?

MR PALLADINO: We believe that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has yet to implement the political and economic overhaul required to improve the country’s reputation with the community of nations, and with the United States, frankly. The actions of the targeted individuals continue to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes, and I’ll stop there. So we – well, we’re also seriously concerned about the ongoing human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.


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