PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe railed against “illegal and debilitating sanctions” imposed on Zimbabwe on Tuesday, saying they prevented the unity government from “making a positive difference in the lives of the poor, the hungry, the sick and the destitute.”
Speaking during a plenary session on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the United Nations in New York, Mugabe said: "Our MDGs steering committee has produced three reports since its formation. The reports show that we have registered mixed results.
"Despite our best efforts, we fell short of our targets because of the illegal and debilitating sanctions imposed on the country, and, consequently, the incidence of poverty in Zimbabwe remains high.
"As a result of these punitive measures and despite our turnaround economic plan, the government of Zimbabwe has been prevented from making a positive difference in the lives of the poor, the hungry, the sick and the destitute among its citizens.
“This is regrettable because Zimbabwe has a stable economic and political environment. We have the resources, and with the right kind of support from the international community, we have the potential to improve the lives of our people."
Mugabe, who is due to address the 65th UN General Assembly later this week, led a delegation of 80 government officials – including a “re-engagement team” led by Energy Minister Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) which will discuss the reestablishment of diplomatic ties and lifting of sanctions with the United States.
The team, which also includes Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Priscilla Misihairabwi (MDC-M), was due to open talks Wednesday with US officials led by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johhny Carson.
Mugabe said on Tuesday: “Even as our economy suffered from illegal sanctions imposed on the country by our detractors, we continued to deploy and direct much of our own resources towards the achievement of the targets we set for ourselves.
"Indeed, we find it very disturbing and regrettable that after we all agreed to work towards the improvement of the lives of our citizens, some countries should deliberately work to negate our efforts in that direction.
"I believe that as we sit here today and re-dedicate ourselves to the achievement of the MDGs in the timeframe we set ourselves, this noble effort on our part will only reach fruition if all of us walk our talk.”
From New York Mugabe is set to travel to Ecuador to accept an honorary doctorate from that country's Anglican Church in recognition of 30 years of "outstanding leadership."