U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and leading advocate for the continent of Africa in the U.S. Senate, today strongly supported recent comments made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that economic sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted. Since 2001, economic sanctions against Zimbabwe have resulted in the denial of extension of loans, credits, or guarantees to the Government of Zimbabwe from the United States or any international financial institution.
Citing the improvement of leadership stemming from the 2008 power-sharing agreement engineered by both the Southern African Development Community and the United States, that kept Robert Mugabe as President, but named reformer Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, Inhofe introduced a bill in the 111th Congress to repeal these sanctions against Zimbabwe. This year, Inhofe reintroduced his repeal bill as S. 1646. Under this legislation, economic sanctions would be lifted in order to restore the Zimbabwe economy and be the crucial assist reformers need to transition to democracy.
"Repealing economic sanctions against Zimbabwe is the only solution to bringing full economic recovery and democratic transition to this African nation," said Inhofe. "Today, I fully support UN Commissioner Navi Phillay's belief that economic sanctions are only hurting -- not helping -- the Zimbabwean people. Over the last four years, Zimbabwe's power-sharing government has improved the economy and the general wellbeing of its people. This is evident by both the sharp decline of their inflation rate and the improvement of their gross domestic product (GDP). However, with the continuing inability to receive international loans or credits, Zimbabwe's economy is held back from achieving total fiscal prosperity. Repealing these U.S. sanctions will provide Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his reformers the tools they need to return Zimbabwe to being called the "Breadbasket of Africa' and engineer the transition to democracy that we all seek."