US will reward Zim progress – Clinton
08 August 2012, 16:10
Cape Town - The United States will reward efforts by Zimbabwe's leaders to pave the way toward free elections, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday.
"Here in Africa, the international community has made it clear that the people of Zimbabwe deserve the right to have their voices and votes counted in a free and fair election," Clinton said in a speech at a Cape Town university.
She urged regional leaders - including the Zimbabwe mediator, South African President Jacob Zuma -to push for a recently approved draft constitution to go to the vote that would allow new polls five years after the violent 2008 election chaos.
"Now the same leaders can help accelerate progress for finalising and adopting that constitution through a credible referendum and holding a free and fair election monitored by the international community," said Clinton.
"And if Zimbabwe's leaders meet these commitments, the United States is prepared to match action for action."
The United States and European Union maintain sanctions against veteran President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle.
The European Union has agreed to lift most sanctions imposed on Mugabe's cohorts - but not those against him and his family - if the country holds a "credible" referendum on a new constitution.
The United States has insisted that Zimbabwe take more steps to curb political violence before agreeing to ease sanctions.
In her sixth leg of a marathon African tour, Clinton called on South Africa to lead efforts at the United Nations human rights council to protect global human rights.
"When old friends in power become corrupt and repressive, a decision by South Africa to stand on the side of freedom is not a sign that you are giving up on old allies, it's a reminder to yourselves and the world that your values don't stop at your borders."