President Robert Mugabe has told the United Nations General Assembly that the biggest impediment to his country achieving the Post-2015 Development Agenda was “punitive and heinous sanctions” imposed by hegemonic and neo-imperialist countries.
Making his 24th appearance at the General Debate since assuming power in Zimbabwe 36 years ago, he also raised the issue of Palestinian and Western Sahara’s independence.
At 92, President Mugabe is the oldest head of state currently in office.
In a message he has delivered at the General Debate before, Mugabe says western countries are to blame for Zimbabwe’s woes – a country he believes is being punished for exercising control over its natural resources.
“My country Zimbabwe is the innocent victim of their spiteful sanctions, imposed by United States and other western powers. And these countries, for 16 years now, have maintained the sanctions on us. As a country, we are being collectively punished for exercising the one primordial principle enshrined in the UN Charter, that of sovereign independence.”
President Mugabe also called on countries to be bound by commitments made in adopting the 2030 agenda to favour dialogue over punitive actions.
“Those who impose these sanctions would rather us pander to their interests rather than the needs of the majority of our people. As long as these economic and financial sanctions remain in place, Zimbabwe’s capacity to fully and effectively implement agenda 2030 will be deeply curtailed. I repeat my call to Britain, Europe and the United States and their allies to remove the illegal and unjustified sanctions against my country and its people.”
He urged the UN-mandated referendum on Western Sahara’s Independence to go ahead and for timelines to be set by the Security Council in achieving the two state solution between Palestine and Israel.
He also heaped praise on praise on the outgoing UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon.
“We’ve appreciated his presence at the AU summits and his visits to Africa as clear testimony of his commitment to and his partnership with Africa in advancing the cause of freedom, development, peace and security – of us, we’ll miss him, especially we of Africa.”
Protesters gathered near the UN all week to object to President Mugabe’s presence in New York and to urge him to step down after over three decades at the helm of Zimbabwe’s government.