/ 4 March 2010

UK stands firm on Zimbabwe sanctions

Uk Stands Firm On Zimbabwe Sanctions

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown insisted on Thursday that Zimbabwe must make more progress before sanctions can be lifted, as he papered over differences with South Africa on the issue.

South African President Jacob Zuma, speaking after talks with the British leader, said only that there had been a “greater understanding” from London of his country’s call for Zimbabwe sanctions to lifted.

Brown stressed that European Union sanctions in place against Zimbabwe, its former colony, “do not target Zimbabwe or Zimbabweans. They target individuals who are responsible for violence and a number of businesses linked to them.”

He also noted that London has supported the restoration of Zimbabwe’s voting rights at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and reduced sanctions on some companies.

“We applaud the efforts that President Zuma is making to bring stability and change to Zimbabwe,” he said at a joint press conference after the talks at his Downing Street office.

“We, however, must be absolutely sure that progress is being made.”

Free and fair elections
Referring to the unity government between President Robert Mugabe and former rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Brown added: “We must be moving from what is a unity but transitional government to free and fair elections.”

Zuma welcomed the IMF move and said the pair had discussed the issue of sanctions, and three commissions on human rights, press freedom and governance reform in Zimbabwe.

But he acknowledged: “The prime minister has responded clearly … that there must be some progress that we see in Zimbabwe.”

“There has been a greater understanding of what we are trying to do in Zimbabwe and what are the concerns,” he added.

Britain has been a fierce critic of Mugabe and his inner circle, who are the targets of a European Union travel ban and other sanctions.

On the eve of a state visit to Britain that started on Wednesday, Zuma repeated his call for the sanctions to be lifted. He did not repeat that call after his talks with Brown.

Economic agreement
There was greater unity on the economy, where Britain and South Africa agreed that more needed to be done to guarantee strong growth after the G20 helped to prop up the global financial system.

In a joint declaration, the two countries also said they would work to make financial institutions more effective and accountable.

Looking ahead to a meeting of the G20 group of rich and developing nations in Canada in June, Brown said they had discussed his plan for a global financial levy.

“The UK and South Africa recognise the success of decisive G20 action in preventing a total breakdown of the world’s financial system and putting in place the building blocks for global recovery,” the joint statement said.

“Both countries agree that further policy action is necessary to make the transition from crisis response to strong and sustainable growth,” it added. — Sapa-AFP, Reuters