PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe typically railed against Western sanctions on Wednesday and demanded that the United States, United Kingdom and their allies to abolish them.
Addressing the United Nations general assembly in New York, the 92-year-old leader said that while his country is “the innocent victim of spiteful sanctions,” it cannot proceed with the implementation of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
“As a country, we are being collectively punished for exercising the one primordial principle enshrined in the United Nations Charter, that of sovereign independence,” he said.
“We are being punished for doing what all other nations have done, that is, possessing and owning their natural resources, and listening to and responding to the basic needs of our people.
“Those who have imposed these sanctions would rather have us pander to their interests at the expense of the basic needs of the majority of our people.”
The U.S. imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe, citing human rights abuses and evidence of electoral fraud. The EU, Australia and Canada also imposed similar sanctions against Harare.
However, despite the sanctions, western counties continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe.
Mugabe blames the sanctions for Zimbabwe’s economic crisis which has lasted nearly 15 years, decimating local industry and leaving unemployment at more than 90 percent, according to some estimates.
The United States has refused to remove the sanctions insisting the Harare regime remains a threat to its foreign policy interests while accusing the Zanu PF leader continuing rights abuses and using violence to crush dissent.
The European Union has since lifted most of its injunctions and now only maintains a travel ban against Mugabe, his wife Grace and a handful of other officials.
Mugabe demanded a complete removal of the sanctions on Wednesday.
“As long as these economic and financial sanctions remain in place, Zimbabwe’s capacity to fully and effectively implement Agenda 2030 is deeply curtailed,” he said.
“I repeat my call to Britain and the United States and their allies to remove the illegal and unjustified sanctions against my country and its people.
“We must all be bound by our commitments to Agenda 2030, under which we all agreed to eschew sanctions in favour of dialogue.”