Feingold, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, discussed a number of issues with Tsvangirai, including obstacles still facing the government that was formed in February, continued abuses by the Zimbabwean security forces, steps to restore rule of law and the potential for increased U.S. engagement.
Feingold was an original cosponsor of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, signed into law in 2001, which restricts U.S. support for any loan, credit or debt cancellation by an international financial institution to the government of Zimbabwe until there are democratic reforms and the restoration of the rule of law. Prime Minister Tsvangirai will meet with other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee later today and with President Obama tomorrow.
The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan resolution introduced by Feingold this week calling on the United States to increase humanitarian assistance to the people of Zimbabwe and resources for the areas of education, health, water and sanitation.
Feingold’s resolution also declared the United States should maintain targeted sanctions and its existing ban on most non-humanitarian government assistance to Zimbabwe until there is progress toward restoring the rule of law, civilian control over security forces and respect for human rights.
Feingold’s bipartisan resolution was cosponsored by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, as well as Senators Kerry (D-MA), Inhofe (R-OK), Burris (D-IL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Durbin (D-IL), Cardin (D-MD), Whitehouse (D-RI), Brownback (R-KS) and Martinez (R-FL).