Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
The United States’ hypocrisy on Zimbabwe’s economic ties with Russia has been exposed after it emerged that Washington indeed recently wrote to Harare expressing reservations on relations between Zimbabwe and Russia. This comes in the wake of a landmark multi-million dollar platinum deal signed by Zimbabwe and Russia recently. The US embassy in Harare last week vigorously denied making any correspondence to Harare relating to the economic ties between Harare and Moscow.
However, in a diplomatic letter dated September 14, 2014, addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the US embassy in Harare cautioned Zimbabwean companies against transactions with Russia, saying they had imposed sanctions on Russia.
“The embassy of the United States of America presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe and has the honour to provide the enclosed information regarding updated sanctions on Russia on September 12,” read part of the letter.
“The embassy of the United States of America requests that this information be provided to the Zimbabwean financial and business communities and that these companies are encouraged to perform due diligence to avoid any potentially sanctionable transactions.
“The embassy of the United States of America welcomes any feedback regarding the above topic.”
Washington recently imposed sanctions on Russia for the latter’s alleged support for Ukrainian pro-Moscow insurgents fighting the American and EU-backed government in Kiev.
Through its spokesperson Karen Kelly, the US embassy in Harare had denied threatening to impose fresh illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe over the country’s economic ties with Russia.
Ms Kelley said there was no link between the sanctions Washington imposed on Russia and those ‘‘placed on President Robert Mugabe and his cronies’’ more than a decade ago.
“Regarding the recent reports in the local media in Zimbabwe, I can say that there is no link between US sanctions on Russia and the targeted sanctions policy on a limited number of individuals and entities in Zimbabwe.
“All US sanctions frameworks are separate and distinct,” Kelly responded.
In the letter to Government, the US embassy provided a list of Russian companies which it said were under sanctions imposed on September 12 this year.
These included several banks, defence industry companies and oil and gas companies.