Zimbabwe sanctions elude EU

The European Union last night failed again to agree to renew its sanctions against Zimbabwe.

With time running out before the measures expire, EU ambassadors were unable to finalise a deal under which the “smart” sanctions will be extended for a year from next month but still allow President Robert Mugabe to attend a Franco-African summit in Paris.

Diplomats said that an EU-Africa summit, scheduled for Lisbon in April, may be postponed or dropped to avoid a mass boycott by EU heads of government. Britain and several other countries have made it clear their leaders would stay away if Mugabe was present.

Ambassadors will meet to discuss the problem again next week, their last chance before February 18, when the sanctions lapse.

The measures ban travel to Europe by Zimbabwe’s leaders, freeze their financial assets and maintain an embargo on weapons that might be used for internal repression.

A compromise may allow member states to be exempt from applying the travel ban if they are hosting an international conference such as an EU summit or an event convened by the UN. - Guardian Unlimited Â.

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