Thursday, May 10, 2012

(NEWZIMBABWE) No quick EU sanctions deal, decision in July

No quick EU sanctions deal, decision in July
10/05/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

TALKS between the European Union and Zimbabwe ended in Brussels Thursday with no agreement on the easing of sanctions. Ministers Patrick Chinamasa [Zanu PF], Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga [MDC] and Elton Mangoma [MDC-T] represented parties to the coalition government during the meeting with the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

Chinamasa told state radio that the Zimbabwe delegation had made a strong case for the removal of the sanctions which were imposed in 2002 over allegations of rights abuses and electoral fraud by President Robert Mugabe’s government.

He said Ashton had indicated she would refer Zimbabwe’s call for the removal of the sanctions to a meeting of the 27 EU countries in July.
"We pointed out that the sanctions had no justification and should not remain," Chinamasa said.

“We spoke with one voice on the issue of sanctions and Ashton continued to sing the same old story that the sanctions were imposed because of the 2008 elections, which of course is not true.

“Sanctions were in fact imposed as far back as 2002 after we embarked on the land acquisition exercise. We are not worried about the past, we have pointed out that we should now move towards normalising our relations with the EU and agree on taking the matter forward.”

In a statement, the EU said: "The meeting between Ashton and the Zimbabwe ministerial re-engagement team was a constructive step in the process in which the EU is committed to re-engagement.

“The Zimbabwe re-engagement team pressed the case for a full removal of sanctions to increase the level playing field and enhance the prospects for full implementation of the Global Political Agreement.”

The EU recognised progress to date and encouraged the reform process to continue in the same positive direction, allowing progress towards normalisation of relations.

“It was agreed Zimbabwe would follow up the meeting with a letter setting out their case, which the EU side would consider before the end of July.”

The EU partially eased the sanctions in February, removing a visa ban and asset freeze on 51 of the targeted 150 people and 20 of 30 companies on the sanctions list.

But it maintained sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and most senior members of his inner circle as well as top officials in his Zanu PF party.

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