HARARE – United States President Donald Trump’s administration is ready to have “meaningful” dialogue with the Zimbabwean government once it is satisfied there is political and economic transformation, a top official said yesterday.
“The relationship with the Zimbabwean government is part of the reason why I am here.
“We are not trying to vet specific individuals from Zimbabwe but we are looking to the Zimbabwean leadership and then the Zimbabwe government to make political and economic changes so that we can more robustly engage the country,” said United States’ Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Carol Thompson O’Connell.
She said this after completing the tour of New Start Centre which was funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) — an HIV benefit programme that supports government’s efforts to mitigate the effects of HIV/Aids pandemic.
O’Connell is the first top Trump administration’s official to visit Zimbabwe since he was elected into office last year.
Pepfar is pledging almost $150 million next year that will be used to test 2,5 million people and support treatment for over 200 000 people as well as cover Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Determined, Resilient, Empowered, Aids-free, Mentored, and Safe (Dreams) programme.
Later, O’Connell met Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa who said government was committed to implement reforms.
“We discussed the re-engagement issue, we discussed the sanctions issue, we discussed American assistance in the health and educational sector, we gave them and briefed them on our economic agenda and the progress that we are making on that front,” Chinamasa told journalists after the meeting.