The following transcript was published by Newsday. It explicitly details the US’s position on Zimbabwe and it was given as a response to a Sunday Mail Editor who had asked:
“My name is Muchemwa Norman from The Sunday Mail in Harare, Zimbabwe. And my question is as you mentioned earlier on that you hoped for Africa and that is an encouragement for American businesses to invest in Zimbabwe. You know that Zimbabwe is open for — in Africa, rather, you know that Zimbabwe is open for business. What measures are there in place for a win-win arrangement regarding the issue of investment for the benefit of the long-suffering Zimbabweans?
To which the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy responded:
Well I love that question too because I’ve had occasions several times to have dialogue at highest levels of your government and our dialogue has been very frank and honest and I’m not going to go into details because those are private discussions. But your leadership understands what the United States is looking for, before we can begin to have a normal, constructive, positive relationship with Zimbabwe.
Now, I told you guys before that I have a very special place in my heart for Zimbabwe because not only did I help open up the embassy there shortly after the Lancaster House Agreement in 1980, I think my vehicle was the second one to cross the Chirundu Bridge going from Zambia to Zimbabwe (at independence). My kids’ were born in Harare. So I really, really appreciate the country. I appreciate the tremendous talents, the positive attributes. Unfortunately, it’s no secret; we have a problematic relationship with Zimbabwe. There’s the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Act, which restricts, to a certain extent, what the United States can and cannot do.
However, there’s a very false narrative out there which I want to correct. Some people say that the United States has sanctions against the country of Zimbabwe. We do not, repeat, do not have sanctions against the country of Zimbabwe. We have sanctions against certain individuals and certain corporations and there could be greater detail on that, but not against the country of Zimbabwe. There is nothing to stop US businesses from investing in Zimbabwe, from going to Zimbabwe.
However, again, let’s be very frank. Zimbabwe has a reputational problem. We have great concerns over how the government treats its own citizens. We have great concerns over the space that’s available for democracy and governance in Zimbabwe. We have been alarmed with how the government has treated its own citizens. So those are the issues. But as I said, we’ve had very frank, honest and open discussions between ourselves and the highest levels of your government.
So you know, hopefully, again, you know my dream and prayer is that we can have fully normalised positive relations with every country in Africa. And Zimbabwe is near the top of my wish list.”
Again, given the personal connections I’ve had with your beautiful, beautiful country and your wonderful people.