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Mugabe at UN says West undermines his government

By on September 26, 2009

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe accused Western countries on Friday of “filthy antics” aimed at undermining a power-sharing government forged in February under a pact with former rival Morgan Tsvangirai.

In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Mugabe said the United States and the European Union had refused to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe, and “some of them are working strenuously to divide the parties in the inclusive government.”

“If they will not assist the inclusive government in rehabilitating our economy, could they please, please stop their filthy clandestine divisive antics,” Mugabe said.

The United States imposed sanctions in 2003 on Mugabe and other prominent Zimbabweans accused of undermining democracy. The European Union imposed measures of its own.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has long been a pariah in the West, blamed by critics for plunging his country, once the bread basket of Africa, into poverty through mismanagement and corruption.

In response, Mugabe has blamed the West for Zimbabwe’s steep economic decline, saying sanctions were imposed to retaliate for the seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to blacks.

The power-sharing government was cobbled together after a disputed election, but the pact between Mugabe and Tsvangirai has been beset with problems as their parties accuse each other of failing to fully implement the deal.

Zimbabwe says it needs $10 billion in foreign reconstruction aid. Western nations are reluctant to release cash without further political and economic reform promised as part of the power-sharing pact.

An EU delegation that visited Zimbabwe this month said it was waiting to see whether human rights abuses had ended.


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