The United States and The African Union are strong international partners, working together to strengthen democratic institutions, promote peace and stability, support sustainable economic development and improve the lives and health of all Africans. Our relationship with the A.U. is based on historical ties and a shared culture, the necessity for increasing coordination due to globalization, and a deep appreciation of the strategic significance of the African continent.
At a recent A.U. summit meeting in Addis Ababa, the group’s leaders selected President Robert Mugabe, the long-time and controversial leader of Zimbabwe as the group’s chairman, to serve a one-year term. A hero of the African independence movement for helping lead his nation to statehood in 1980, in ruling his party since then he is also seen as responsible for serious human right abuses, failed economic policies and state-sponsored violence following disputed elections in 2002 and 2008.
Because of these concerns, the United States imposed targeted sanctions that limit travel to the United States and U.S.-related financial transactions for President Mugabe and other individuals and entities which have undermined democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe. These sanctions remain in place.
The United States respects the African Union’s essential role on the continent and on issues of global concern. Decisions on A.U. leadership are decisions for the African members.
The U.S. has a strong track record working with the A.U. -- confronting the Ebola crisis, providing training and logistical support for A.U. peacekeeping missions, and many other issues -- and we will continue that cooperation.