Help Zim, US,EU told

BRUSSELS - The European Union and the United States should help Zimbabwe develop its agriculture and attract investment rather than impose sanctions that have hurt the people, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said yesterday.

BRUSSELS - The European Union and the United States should help Zimbabwe develop its agriculture and attract investment rather than impose sanctions that have hurt the people, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said yesterday.

Washington and Brussels have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on President Robert Mugabe and other senior Zimbabwean officials. US sanctions also bar Americans from engaging in any transactions or dealings with them.

"They (the sanctions) hurt the ordinary people ... if you have sanctions against the government then obviously investors will not want to deal with that government, tourists get frightened," she told Reuters.

Opponents of Mugabe say his policy of forcing white farmers off their land has exacerbated the problem in a country where hyper-inflation has crippled the economy. Mugabe blames international sanctions.

Zimbabwe's economic decline, once seen by the opposition as the only factor that could weaken Mugabe, has been worsening while he digs in for a prolonged power struggle over the creation of a power-sharing government.

Inflation is officially 231 million percent. Zimbabwe depends on hand-outs and malnutrition is on the rise.

"The EU, the US and other countries should begin to support farmers to plant, to get fertilisers and to get businessmen to invest in Zimbabwe." - Reuters

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