From :

21 May 2012

OUTGOING US Ambassador, Charles Rays has said although Harare and Washington do not “see eye to eye” on various key issues, the two countries could still do business together.

“The Government of Zimbabwe and my government don’t see eye to eye on some real important issues,” Ray told the 37th Annual Africa Travel Association Congress in Victoria Falls at the weekend.

“But I still believe that despite these differences Zimbabwe can still (spruce up) its image. Our ordinary people can do business.’’

Washington maintains sanctions against Zimbabwe will not be lifted until progress is made in implementing political reforms agreed as part of the deal leading to the formation of the coalition government.

“The US continues to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe and will do so until we believe that substantial and irreversible progress has been made in the implementation of [reforms agreed under the Global Political Agreement],” Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson said recently.

The US imposed the sanctions more than a decade ago in protest at controversial elections and alleged human rights abuses by President Robert Mugabe’s government.

Mugabe denies the allegations and claims the sanctions are aimed at punishing him for his Zanu PF party’s land reforms and other economic empowerment programmes.

Meanwhile Ambassador Ray said although Zimbabwe was not yet out of the woods the situation was not as dire as claimed by the global media.

“What you see on CNN is not true. Journalists package what they think sells. I am sorry to say this in front of the media, but I have been in the media before myself,” he said.

“People have a mistaken notion with reality. It is important that journalists try and report correctly and accurately.

“I have encouraged people not to listen to the international media but (they should) come and see for themselves.”

“I must testify that when I alighted from the plane at Harare International Airport the very first time I came here, I was surprised to see the opposite of what I had known. I met very good people, very happy people and Zimbabwe is very beautiful and attractive.”

Ray urged US investors to give the country a chance insisting the country was firmly on the path to economic recovery and growth while political tensions have also eased…