THE US government through its embassy in Harare has refuted reports that it threatened to impose fresh illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe over the country’s economic ties with Russia.
The Government of Zimbabwe last month sealed a historic $3 billion mining deal with Russia to establish what would be Zimbabwe’s largest platinum mine in Darwendale when fully operational.
The US recently imposed sanctions on Russia for allegedly supporting Ukraine’s pro-Russian independence forces fighting the American and EU-backed government in Kiev.
The Obama administration threatened further sanctions against Zimbabwe in the wake of the multi-billion dollar platinum deal.
In 2003, the US imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe over its land reform programme that benefited thousands of landless people.
The Herald’s prolific columnist Nathaniel Manheru also caught onto the US scam in his latest instalment where he said the US, through its Harare embassy, had written to Government notifying them of the development.
Wrote Manheru in the Saturday Herald: “A week or two ago, the US government, through its local embassy, sent an official communication to the Zimbabwean Government, listing the full measures of sanctions the West, led by America, have slapped on Russia.
“The communication went further. It spelt out American expectations on Zimbabwe, namely that Zimbabwe was expected (read required) to support those sanctions by avoiding any association with companies sanctioned by the Americans and their Western allies. Or their subsidiaries or affiliates.
“And . . . yes you guess right, that targets the new $3bn-plus platinum investment by the Russians at Darwendale! It (Zimbabwe) should not proceed or else we are under sanctions.”
However, the US embassy in Harare told newzimbabwe.com that there was no truth to the allegations.
Embassy spokesperson, Ms Karen 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 to newzimbabwe.com in an email Monday.
Kelley also explained her country’s position on Russia.
“Due to Russia’s escalated, direct military intervention and continuing efforts to destabilise Ukraine, the Departments of Treasury and Commerce announced they imposed additional sanctions and deepened existing sanctions on Russia,” she said.
“We have also said if Russia fully implements the 12 requirements of the September 5th Minsk agreement, these latest sanctions can and will be rolled back.”
“If instead Russia and the separatists it supports continue their aggressive actions, the cost will continue to rise.”