Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo has said the new Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) signed into law by United States President Donald Trump last week to extend sanctions on Zimbabwe was bound to hurt ordinary people.

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Moyo said only the naive would claim that sanctions were targeted on a few individuals in the top echelons of power.

“Commerce between the two States remains hampered by non-existent bank-to-bank relations. Both US companies and foreign companies, as well as individuals from Zimbabwe are subject to the penalties. It cannot, therefore, be naively claimed that Zidera is targeted at a few individuals and does not affect trade and investment between the US and Zimbabwe,” he said.

Moyo said it was unfortunate that the US government signed the amended Zidera Bill into law, saying the (Zimbabwe) government would rather there were no such punitive measures.

“Therefore, the recently signed Zidera Amendment Act (2018) was unfortunate in that we would rather there were no restrictive measures and sanctions in our bilateral relations with the US,” he said. Since the ouster of former President Robert Mugabe, there had been an improvement in respect for human rights and major milestones reached in dealing with some of the provisions covered by Zidera, according to Moyo.

“The rule of law, freedom of expression, free and fair elections have already been accomplished in the new dispensation. Reforms of political and economic laws are ongoing endeavours in the new dispensation,” he said.

He said the government would continue to pursue re-engagement efforts with the rest of the world.

“While we regret that Zidera continues to exist in any form, we are determined to continue in the re-engagement with the US administration, as we together seek to restore bilateral relations to normalcy,” he said.

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