The conflict between the United States and Zimbabwe should not overshadow co-operation opportunities that will lead to the building of a better future for all Zimbabwean citizens, Ambassador Charles Ray has said.
In an update on the Zimbabwe-US relations, the US ambassador said his country has sought to improve the health, well-being and prosperity of all the Zimbabwean people.
“Individual personalities are not the most important element in government. Instead, the critical factor here is the process of positive transformation in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Relations between the countries have been cold over the years and this was early this month worsened by a walkout by Ray and other Western diplomats on President Robert Mugabe when he launched a tirade against their countries.
Ray said this while announcing a $10 million increase in the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) in Zimbabwe’s 2011 budget. Under the Pepfar programme, the number of people receiving anti-retroviral drugs increased this year to 59 000 up from 40 000 in 2009.
Ray said the US government supported those working for the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement and those who were striving to ease the suffering of the people and eliminate corruption and repression.
“Zimbabwe needs to advance to the point where it can take care of its own needs. This is essential for the country as well as the region and the US and the international community stand ready to assist,” Ray said.
“However, the US cannot build Zimbabwe,” he said. “Only Zimbabweans can do that. US support will be available when Zimbabwean leaders request it.”