UN: Mugabe demands sanctions lift

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ZIMBABWE – President Robert Mugabe, currently in New York for the UN general assembly, has urged the West to revoke sanctions against Zimbabwe for the sake of a new far-reaching development agenda.

Addressing a U.N. global gathering after the launch of a new development programme, Mugabe praised what he called an “ambitious” development agenda that can “usher in a potentially glorious future.”

He however, said Zimbabwe lacks resources to successfully implement all of the programme’s provisions because of sanctions imposed by western countries.

“Freed of the fetters of sanctions,” Zimbabwe will stand a better chance of implementing the goals, he said.

The United States and European Union (EU) imposed what they described as target sanctions on individuals and entities in Zimbabwe accused of undermining democratic processes or institutions.

The EU has since removed most of its sanctions and resumed financial support for Harare with only Mugabe and his wife, Grace, still subject to a travel ban.

The US has refused to remove its sanctions, maintaining that the Harare regime remains a threat to Washington’s foreign policy interests.

Mugabe blames the more than a decade-old sanctions for Zimbabwe’s continuing economic problems.

Meanwhile, participants in a high-level side event to celebrate the adoption of a new United Nations development agenda commended the universal scope of the programme.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the new blueprint was “designed to resonate with people across the world” and sends a clear message to policy makers.

Helen Clark, head of the United Nations Development Group, said the newly adopted goals call “for a paradigm shift” in how the international society understands development.

Germany wants to be a role model when it comes to the implementation of the goals, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, stressing the broad scope of the goals “shouldn’t be used as an excuse” for failure

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg referenced the Elvis Presley’s song “less conversation, more action.”

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