Obama threatens sanctions after Zim signs Russian deal

The United States has reportedly warned Zimbabwe about its growing economic dealings with Russia after Harare recently sealed an agreement with Moscow for a US$3billion platinum mine.

According to Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru, who is thought to be President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba, the Obama administration threatened further sanctions against Zimbabwe over its ties with Russia.

Zimbabwe’s Pen East Investments has teamed up with Afronet, a consortium of three Russian partners, to form Great Dyke Investments, which is developing the US$3 billion Darwendale platinum project.

At full development in 2024, the mine will produce 800,000 platinum ounces, pushing Zimbabwe’s output over one million ounces, and create 8,000 jobs.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov visited Zimbabwe last month to conclude the deal with President Robert Mugabe.

However, according to Manheru, the deal could see Washington hit Harare with further sanctions.

Manheru wrote in the Saturday Herald:

“A week or two ago, the US government, through its local embassy, sent an official communication to the Zimbabwean Government, listing the full measure of sanctions the West, led by America, have slapped on Russia.

“The communication went further. It spelt out American expectations on Zimbabwe, namely that Zimbabwe was expected (read required) to support those sanctions by avoiding any association with companies sanctioned by the Americans and their Western allies. Or their subsidiaries or affiliates.

“And . . . yes you guess right, that targets the new US$3bn-plus platinum investment by the Russians at Darwendale! It (Zimbabwe) should not proceed or else we are under sanctions.”

Manheru said it was ridiculous for the US to refuse to lift sanctions against Harare and then demand support for its measures against Moscow.

“America then invites sanctioned Zimbabwe to support sanctions against Russia, itself a bird of the same feather!

“This is where I am tempted to tell the American government to go and hang, hang on a banana tree, bums up.”