|US ambassador Charles Ray regrets hard-line stance on Zimbabwe|
|Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:10|
Speaking at a farewell Press briefing in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Mr Ray, who is left with 19 days in the country, said he has enjoyed his three-year stay in Zimbabwe.
He condemned negative international media reports on Zimbabwe saying such reports were responsible for repelling international investors.
Zimbabweans, said Mr Ray, have the sovereign right to determine their destiny and the choice to choose the leaders they want in a voting process without any outside interference. He admitted that his country erred in adopting a radical stance against Zimbabwe adding concerted efforts were needed to try and build bridges between Harare and Washington for mutual benefit.
“When I arrived in Zimbabwe I sought to change the nature of conversation between the US and Zimbabwe. For 10 years, we were just yelling and hurling insults at each other and we never really had a substantive conversation about anything. We were complaining about some behaviour and they were calling us regime change neo-imperialists,” said Mr Ray.
The US Ambassador urged Zimbabweans to bury their differences and have a unity of purpose in order to achieve meaningful development.
“Despite political differences the unity Government emphasises the need for leaders to make decisions that will benefit their people and the importance of creating a sense of oneness for the sake of building the country.
Harareans. These divisions keep people apart and have built a form of intolerance that makes it difficult for people to reach to people they do not know and to trust them,” said Mr Ray.
The US envoy said his country’s model of democracy was not applicable to all countries adding there was no need for his country to seek to enforce its political principles on other countries. He said Zimbabweans alone should choose a way of reconciling the past mistakes. Asked about the attitude of US companies towards investing in Zimbabwe, Mr Ray — whose country’s sanctions law penalises US companies that invest in Zimbabwe — said most companies do not have adequate information about the country’s economic potential.