/ 16 February 2010

EU extends Zimbabwe sanctions for another year

Eu Extends Zimbabwe Sanctions For Another Year

The European Union (EU) on Tuesday renewed its sanctions against Zimbabwe for another year, citing a lack of progress in implementing the country’s power-sharing agreement.

“In view of the situation in Zimbabwe, in particular the lack of progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement signed in September 2008, the restrictive measures … should be extended for a further period of 12 months,” the 27 EU nations agreed in a decision published in the bloc’s official journal.

President Robert Mugabe and his erstwhile rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, formed a unity government nearly a year ago, aiming to end political unrest targeting mainly supporters of the premier’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Last September the EU sent a delegation to Zimbabwe, and found that benchmarks for reforms have not been met.

Hence the decision to maintain the travel bans and assets freezes that were first introduced in 2002 on Mugabe and about 100 of his cohorts.

However, the names of some individuals and countries were removed from the list after the investigation downgraded their links with the main players.

Still hope for improvement
Lutz Guellner, spokesperson for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, stressed that the sanctions remained under review.

The EU stands ready “to revisit them if the current political situation improves”, he said.

The aim is not to keep the status quo, he stressed.

Relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union were strained nearly 10 years ago by a series of elections marred by violence and widespread allegations of human rights abuses by Mugabe’s government.

The decision was made through the formal announcement in the EU’s official journal to prevent the sanctions expiring.

EU foreign ministers will discuss the situation more fully when they meet in Brussels next week, said Guellner. — AFP