After the SADC's call for a lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe's re-elected president, it conceded to do so after political reforms in the country.
"We have made clear to the government of Zimbabwe and the region that a change in US sanctions policy will occur only in a context of credible, transparent, peaceful reforms that reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people," state department spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Monday, responding to calls from the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) to lift Zimbabwe sanctions.
Wrapping up its annual summit, SADC on Sunday called for "the lifting of all forms of sanctions hitherto imposed on Zimbabwe", levelled against the veteran president and blacklisted firms and individuals.
"I believe Zimbabwe deserves better, Zimbabweans have suffered enough," said the regional bloc's incoming chairperson, President Joyce Banda of Malawi.
The SADC also "noted with satisfaction the holding of free and peaceful" elections and congratulated Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party for their overwhelming win in the July 31 vote.
But Washington was unimpressed.
"Our programme of targeted sanctions will remain in place as long as these conditions continue to exist in Zimbabwe," Psaki added.
Africa's oldest leader
In March 2003 the United States imposed sanctions on Mugabe and on a list of his relatives.
Mugabe, Africa's oldest leader at 89, first took the reins of a newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980 as prime minister. He became president following a constitutional amendment in 1987.
He will be sworn in on Thursday for his seventh term, which will last five years. – AFP