Washington - The United States believes Zimbabwe's recent
election was flawed and it doesn't plan to loosen sanctions against President
Robert Mugabe's government until there are signs of change in the country, the
State Department said on Monday, despite an endorsement of the vote by Southern
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from
Britain in 1980, is set to be sworn in as president as early as this week,
extending his 33-year rule of the country after winning the 31 July election.
The 15-nation Southern African Development Community, which
helped broker a power-sharing deal after disputed elections in Zimbabwe in
2008, backed Mugabe's re-election on Sunday.
"The United States stands by our assessment that these
elections, while relatively peaceful, did not represent a credible expression
of the will of the Zimbabwean people due to serious flaws throughout the
electoral process," said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.
"We have made clear to the government of Zimbabwe and
the region that a change in US sanctions policy will occur only in the context
of credible, transparent and peaceful reforms that reflect the will of the
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, led by Morgan
Tsvangirai, on Friday dropped its court challenge to Mugabe's landslide win,
saying it doubted it would get a fair hearing.
The US position
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said registration
flaws may have disenfranchised up to a million people out of 6.4 million
The United States imposed sanctions on Mugabe in 2003. The
sanctions, which ban more than 250 Zimbabwean individuals and companies from
doing business with the United States, were extended in 2009.
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since it gained independence from
Britain in 1980 and is Africa's oldest leader.
Psaki said it was "feasible" that the US could
review sanctions toward Zimbabwe if conditions in the country improved, but for
now they would remain.
Soon after his nomination as Secretary of State, John Kerry wrote
to Mugabe outlining the US position on elections and the opportunities it
provided for the country.
The US had said it was willing to roll back sanctions and
expand trade and investment if elections were conducted in a free and credible