Monday, May 07, 2012
Zim, EU resume sanctions talks
by Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE will send a delegation of government ministers this week to hold talks with EU officials about the sanctions slapped on President Robert Mugabe and his circle a decade ago. "We have confirmed the meeting and the ministers will leave on Tuesday for Brussels," foreign affairs secretary Joey Bimha told the state media over the weekend.
He said the officials were travelling at the EU's invitation and would meet Catherine Ashton, EU foreign affairs chief and the vice president of the powerful European Commission.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the Zimbabwe delegation would push for the removal of sanctions on Mugabe and top officials in his Zanu PF party.
"Our position is that the sanctions should be removed unconditionally and that is what we are going to take to the table," Chinamasa said.
The 27-nation EU removed a visa ban and asset freeze on 51 individuals in February to encourage "further progress" on political reform in Zimbabwe.
It also suspended the travel ban on Chinamasa and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi so that they could travel to Brussels for talks, but maintained asset freezes against them.
But 112 people are still subject to the measures.
Human Rights Watch had urged the EU to maintain the travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe until the country follows through on promised political reforms.
The government insists there is no justification for the sanctions and blames them for the country’s economic problems.