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Statement on protests during US Ambassador visit to Mutare
US Embassy
January 16, 2013

In response to the protests today, January 16, which prevented Ambassador Wharton from engaging in a dialogue with the citizens of Manicaland at the Turner Memorial Library in Mutare, the U.S. Embassy releases the following statement:

While the U.S. values the right to peaceful protest, and notes it as a critical element of democracy, we regret that the roughly 130 ZANU-PF protestors were not interested in a conversation. Ambassador Wharton spent about 15-20 minutes listening to their messages - written on placards, and verbal - but was met with no opportunity for constructive conversation.

The U.S. Ambassador recognizes the critical need to work together to build a way forward but believes that this must begin with a respectful sharing of ideas.

Ambassador Wharton is on his first visit to Manicaland with a schedule that includes visits to USAID projects and meetings with businesspeople, academics, local authorities, and citizens. Please find attached the remarks that Ambassador Wharton was planning to give at the Turner Memorial Library public event.

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