Tuesday, June 05, 2012

(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) US Senator joins fight against Zim sanctions

COMMENT - Check out all the relevant links and articles to this bill here. UPDATE: This bill has been re-introduced as S.1646 of the 112th US Congress (2011-2012).

US Senator joins fight against Zim sanctions
Saturday, 02 June 2012 18:04
Sunday Mail Reporter

United States Senator Jim Inhofe has added his voice to the growing calls for the lifting of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by his country and its Western allies,noting that the embargo is affecting the lives of the ordinary man and impeding economic development.

Inhofe, who is a member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and has introduced a Bill that seeks to have the sanctions scrapped, highlighted that the embargo was “hurting and not helping the Zimbabwean people”.

The US legislator’s statement comes hot on the heels of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s call for the lifting of the illegal sanctions.

It also comes at a time when Government has taken the fight against the illegal sanctions a notch up with the Attorney-General, Mr Johannes Tomana, filing a lawsuit against the European Union.

A statement posted on the US senate website last week reads: “US Sen Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and leading advocate for the continent of Africa in the US Senate, today strongly supported recent comments made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that economic sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted.

“Since 2001, economic sanctions against Zimbabwe have resulted in the denial of extension of loans, credits, or guarantees to the Government of Zimbabwe from the United States or any international financial institution.”

The statement quoted Inhofe as saying: “I fully support UN Commissioner Navi Phillay’s (sic) belief that economic sanctions are only hurting — not helping — the Zimbabwean people.

“Over the last four years, Zimbabwe’s power-sharing Government has improved the economy and the general well-being of its people.

“This is evident by both the sharp decline of their inflation rate and the improvement of their gross domestic product (GDP).

“However, with the continuing inability to receive international loans or credits, Zimbabwe’s economy is held back from achieving total fiscal prosperity.”

****************

The Press Release:

INHOFE: REPEAL U.S. ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST ZIMBABWE NOW

Contacts: Jared Young 202-224-5762
Liz Lathrop 202-224-1282
May 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and leading advocate for the continent of Africa in the U.S. Senate, today strongly supported recent comments made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that economic sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted. Since 2001, economic sanctions against Zimbabwe have resulted in the denial of extension of loans, credits, or guarantees to the Government of Zimbabwe from the United States or any international financial institution.

Citing the improvement of leadership stemming from the 2008 power-sharing agreement engineered by both the Southern African Development Community and the United States, that kept Robert Mugabe as President, but named reformer Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, Inhofe introduced a bill in the 111th Congress to repeal these sanctions against Zimbabwe. This year, Inhofe reintroduced his repeal bill as S. 1646. Under this legislation, economic sanctions would be lifted in order to restore the Zimbabwe economy and be the crucial assist reformers need to transition to democracy.

“Repealing economic sanctions against Zimbabwe is the only solution to bringing full economic recovery and democratic transition to this African nation,” said Inhofe.

“Today, I fully support UN Commissioner Navi Phillay’s belief that economic sanctions are only hurting – not helping – the Zimbabwean people. Over the last four years, Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government has improved the economy and the general wellbeing of its people. This is evident by both the sharp decline of their inflation rate and the improvement of their gross domestic product (GDP). However, with the continuing inability to receive international loans or credits, Zimbabwe’s economy is held back from achieving total fiscal prosperity. Repealing these U.S. sanctions will provide Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his reformers the tools they need to return Zimbabwe to being called the ‘Breadbasket of Africa’ and engineer the transition to democracy that we all seek.”


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At 1:30 PM , Blogger MrK said...

(CHICAGO TRIBUNE) 2 Chicago men charged in effort to lift economic sanctions against Zimbabwe leaders
August 07, 2013|By Jason Meisner and Katherine Skiba, Chicago Tribune reporters

They called themselves the "Chicago connection" and appeared confident that their contacts with Illinois politicians would help persuade newly elected President Barack Obama to lift longtime economic sanctions against leaders in Zimbabwe, according to federal charges unsealed Tuesday.

"The Chicago connection NEVER surrenders or forgets its friends," a criminal complaint quoted one of the men as writing in a 2009 letter to the head of Zimbabwe's national bank.

The two, Prince Asiel Ben Israel and C. Gregory Turner, were charged with violating federal law by lobbying on behalf Zimbabwe's longtime president, Robert Mugabe, whose violent and oppressive regime has been the target of U.S. economic sanctions since 2003.

According to the charges, Ben Israel and Turner attempted to persuade undisclosed federal and state government officials — including an Illinois state senator and two U.S. representatives from Chicago — to push for the lifting of the sanctions. The two reached a consulting agreement with Zimbabwe officials to be paid $3.4 million, authorities charged, but it was unclear whether they received any money.

Authorities said the discussions began in early November 2008 when Ben Israel and Turner told Zimbabwe officials that they knew many politicians with close ties to Obama, the U.S. senator from Illinois who had just been elected to the White House. But their efforts over the next year failed as the president continued the sanctions first imposed under the previous Bush administration. None of the public officials was accused of wrongdoing.

Dressed in a dark suit, red tie and light blue suede loafers, Ben Israel, 72, made a brief appearance in federal court Tuesday before he was released on his own recognizance. He had no comment as he left the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse hand in hand with his wife.

An arrest warrant was issued for Turner, 71, who authorities said is believed to be living in Israel.

Ben Israel has a colorful history in Chicago. For decades he and his family have run the Soul Vegetarian Restaurant on East 75th Street, a well-known neighborhood spot for authentic vegan food. He also gained recognition in the 1980s as a leader of the Black Hebrew Israelite sect, a Chicago-based group whose members believe they are direct descendants of the ancient Israelites.

The 56-page criminal complaint described in detail how Ben Israel and Turner allegedly enlisted the support of a "State Senator A," who hoped that the election of Obama would cause the U.S. to take a fresh look at Zimbabwe.

 
At 1:33 PM , Blogger MrK said...

Continued...


That same state senator wrote in a 2009 letter that he had made a "commitment" to Mugabe and could use his leadership position with the National Black Caucus of State Legislators to organize a delegation to travel to Zimbabwe and fight for the removal of the sanctions, according to the complaint.

Records show that state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, chairs the international committee of that caucus. Efforts to reach Trotter were unsuccessful Tuesday. His attorney, Thomas Anthony Durkin, said he had not seen the complaint and had no comment.

Ben Israel and Turner were successful in arranging for State Senator A and several other lawmakers to meet with Mugabe and other top Zimbabwean officials during several trips there in 2008 and 2009, according to the charges.

The charges also described the two Chicago congressmen as sponsors of a failed 2010 House resolution to end the Zimbabwe sanctions. Congressional records show that the only Illinois congressmen to sponsor that bill were U.S. Reps. Danny Davis and Bobby Rush, both Chicago Democrats.

Reached by phone, Davis said he has known the two defendants for "at least 40 years or more" but would not comment on whether he traveled to Zimbabwe or lobbied for lifting the sanctions.

"I don't know enough about what the situation is," Davis said.

According to the complaint, "U.S. Representative A" wrote two letters in 2009 to Mugabe and Gideon Gono, the head of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The correspondence, written on the representative's official congressional letterhead, detailed information that Ben Israel had provided on "the plight of the people of Zimbabwe" and requested a meeting with Mugabe and Gono that August or September.

About the same time, Turner forwarded a Zimbabwean official an itinerary from a second congressman from Chicago who was traveling to Africa as part of an official congressional delegation.

In a written response Tuesday night, Rush said he has known Ben Israel for 30 years and called him a small-business man and advocate for Africa and African-American issues. "This is the first I've heard of this," he said when asked by the Tribune if he was one of the congressmen referred to in the complaint.

Rush said he canceled a planned trip to Liberia, Ghana, Angola and South Africa in 2009 because he was ill. He said he did not send four of his staffers in his place but that they went as House committee staffers.

Tribune reporter Ray Long and Alexei Koseff of the Tribune Washington Bureau contributed.

jmeisner@tribune.com

kskiba@tribune.com

 
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