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U.S Daily Press Briefing

U.S Daily Press Briefing

MR. WOOD: Okay. I don’t have any announcements, so why don’t we go straight to your questions.

Dave.

QUESTION: Robert, is there any U.S. engagement vis-à-vis trying to assist the Zimbabwe power-sharing process? It seems to be sputtering along and Mugabe seems rather reluctant to, one would think, you know, fill his end of the deal and yield some serious portfolios to the other side.

MR. WOOD: Yeah, well, Dave, we’ve been encouraging the parties to try to reach an agreement on allocation of cabinet positions, you know, reflecting the September 15 agreement as well as the will of the Zimbabwean people. But beyond that, I don’t have much more to offer you on that.

Go here. On Zimbabwe?

QUESTION: Yeah. The – Mugabe is still refusing – unless I’ve missed it – to give Morgan Tsvangirai a passport and is being very obstructive. What’s the U.S. doing to try and resolve this?

MR. WOOD: Well, we understand that Morgan Tsvangirai’s passport has not yet been returned to him, but I don’t believe that we’re playing any specific role in dealing with that issue. But let me just make a general point that, you know, should Mugabe renege on this power-sharing agreement, the United States, you know, is prepared to impose additional sanctions.

QUESTION: But what impact would imposing additional sanctions do? I mean, there are already sanctioned out the wazoo. I mean, what more can you do that would actually have a material, sort of, benefit in getting him to change his mind?

MR. WOOD: Well, again, I’m not, you know, at liberty here to talk about what sanctions we may be planning. But let us just say, we are very committed to seeing this process go forward in a positive way that will reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people. And we’re obviously following these events very closely and we’re encouraging the parties to reach an agreement. And so we’ll – as I said, we’ll be watching it closely and encouraging both parties to, you know, bring this agreement to fruition. But again, should Mugabe not negotiate in good faith on a power-sharing agreement, then we will look at other options, including additional sanctions.

QUESTION: The Secretary was involved in trying to sort out Kenya’s issues after the election. Have you looked at sending any senior U.S. officials to try and help broker a deal, or do you just not have the leverage to do it?

MR. WOOD: Well, it’s not a question of leverage. You know, former South African President Mugabe – excuse me, Mbeki --

QUESTION: Mbeki.

MR. WOOD: -- is obviously trying to see if he can help broker an agreement. And so – and SADC is very interested, obviously, in trying to help push an agreement forward. And you know, we always stand ready to assist where we can. But those parties have the lead and they should at this point.

QUESTION: But do you think SADC is doing enough? I mean, last week the U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe said that, you know, SADC really needed to do a lot more, the AU needed to do a lot more. What are you doing to try and push --

MR. WOOD: Well, SADC is – as I said, is very supportive of trying to bring about an agreement. And I have no reason to question, you know, their motives or objectives here. We all want the same thing and we want something – we want an agreement that reflects the will of the Zimbabweans. They’ve suffered a very long time. The suffering should come to an end, and we need to move forward with the political process. And so, you know, there are a lot of parties that are – that have an interest in seeing an agreement reached and implemented, and SADC is one of them.

QUESTION: Semi-related to that, Jacob Zuma is going to be in town or is in town already, maybe today. He’s seeing the Secretary tomorrow?

MR. WOOD: I’d have to check the schedule and see. I can let you know. I haven’t seen the schedule for tomorrow.

QUESTION: How big a topic of conversation will Zimbabwe be?

MR. WOOD: Well, Zimbabwe is an important topic of discussion. And any discussions between, you know, the United States and South Africa, apparently – you know, of course, recently, is going to be on that subject because it’s a situation of great concern to both countries. And I’ll get back to you on the question of when she may or may not be meeting.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. WOOD: Anything else? Thank you all.

ENDS

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