FW: Anti-Zimbabwe Drive: US Plans To Invade Harare

Donal donaloc at peterquinn.com
Mon Nov 11 05:20:09 MST 2002


[ converted from html ]

US threatens 'intrusive' measures to get food aid to
starving Zimbabweans
By Andrew Meldrum in Harare

Sydney Morning Herald
November 8 2002

-The United States is considering measures that would
challenge Zimbabwe's sovereignty, said Mark Bellamy,
the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa.
-"We may have to be prepared to take some very
intrusive, interventionist measures to ensure aid
delivery to Zimbabwe," Mr Bellamy said.

Washington has warned that it might take "intrusive,
interventionist measures" to deliver food aid directly
to millions of famine-hit Zimbabweans if President
Robert Mugabe continues to starve his political
opponents.

The United States is considering measures that would
challenge Zimbabwe's sovereignty, said Mark Bellamy,
the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for
Africa. Such drastic measures are being studied
because the Mugabe regime is aggravating the effects
of a region-wide famine by blocking food from areas
that support the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), he said.

"We may have to be prepared to take some very
intrusive, interventionist measures to ensure aid
delivery to Zimbabwe," Mr Bellamy said.

The plan was reported in the Zimbabwean state-owned
newspaper The Herald under the headline "US plans to
invade Harare".

A spokesman for Mr Mugabe said other African countries
should take heed of "the mad talk of intrusive and
interventionist challenges to Zimbabwe's sovereignty.
Today it is about Zimbabwe. Heaven knows who is next,"
he said.

Mr Bellamy said: "We have disturbing reports of food
being used as a political weapon by the Mugabe
Government, of food aid being diverted and food being
denied to millions of opposition supporters.

"For the sake of those hungry people it may be
necessary for us to undertake intrusive delivery and
monitoring of food. The dilemmas in the next six
months may bring us face to face with Zimbabwe's
sovereignty."

Mr Bellamy said Mr Mugabe was "holding his people
hostage the way Saddam Hussein is holding his people
hostage".

Mr Mugabe and other Zimbabwean officials maintain that
food relief is distributed freely and fairly.

The Government has, however, outlawed the private
importation of food, leaving the state grain marketing
board with a monopoly on the importation and
deliveries of the staple maize meal. Aid agencies and
government critics say this gives the marketing board
a stranglehold on food availability throughout the
country.

The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development has
failed to get permission to import 100 tonnes of food
aid, which sits at the Beitbridge border post with
South Africa. The MDC has also been refused permission
to import food.

Mr Bellamy refused to specify what the US could do to
deliver food to Zimbabweans against the will of the
Government, but said the Bush Administration was
"considering all approaches".

Mr Mugabe's violent and chaotic land seizures,
combined with drought, have resulted in a crippling
food shortage.

Of the 14 million people at risk of starvation
throughout southern Africa, 6.7 million are
Zimbabwean, nearly half the country's population.





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