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Zimbabwe: US backed negotiations to hit the wall as Mugabe lashes out
President Barack Obama of the United States of America has dispatched a five-member delegation of US congressmen led by Representative Gregory Meeks to Zimbabwe.

The aim is to assess progress in Zimbabwe’s inclusive government which turned one year old last week.

"A five-member congressional delegation of the U.S. House of Representatives will visit Zimbabwe February 18th 2010 to assess progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement, economic reforms and visit U.S. funded humanitarian assistance projects," Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer at the US embassy in Harare said.

Gregory Meeks, a Democrat from New York, will be accompanied by Representatives Melvin Watt (Democrat, North Carolina), André Carson (Democrat, Indiana) and Jack Kingston (Republican, Georgia).

This will be the second visit to Zimbabwe in six months for Congressmen Meeks, Watt and Kingston.

However, negotiations are expected to hit the wall in relation to today’s visit as parties to Zimbabwe’s coalition government have refused to compromise on their positions while trading accusations for the slow implantation of the GPA.

Mugabe complains

Yesterday, President Mugabe was defiant as ever when addressing journalists on the extension of sanctions by the European Union on Monday. He called on his countrymen to ignore the EU’s decision to extend sanctions by another year and concentrate on exploiting the country’s vast natural resources.

"In Ghana they say ‘don’t mind’. We know their attitude. They do not want anyone, any country in the developing world to make any meaningful development strides... That attitude is more pronounced in regard to Zimbabwe."

Mugabe said the EU was envious of Zimbabwe’s abundant natural resources and was scuttling efforts to use them for development. "We have resources which they envy, natural resources that belong to us... There is the issue of land here. When they make those noises, it is because they have lost that which they occupied illegally which is now in our possession," the octogenarian complained.

But newly appointed Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo seems to have outdone his boss. "We are not worried by their extension. It’s a continuation of the struggle, just like the liberation struggle. We are our own liberators. Why should we worry?" said Gumbo.

Gumbo accused the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC), the party of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, of backing the sanctions against Mugabe and about 100 of his Zanu-Pf colleagues. "We have always maintained that the sanctions were foisted by the MDC," Gumbo said.

The EU on Monday announced the extension of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe by another year citing "lack of progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement".


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