Zim blames EU for holding up talks

Zimbabwe’s foreign minister on Tuesday accused the European Union of delaying a new round of talks meant to assess progress in meeting long-delayed political and human rights reforms.

“It seems to suggest to us that the EU has never taken this dialogue seriously at all,” Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said after meeting with Portugal’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Antonio Braga, the state-run Herald newspaper reported.

“They are just playing games with the lives of people of Zimbabwe and I know that in international relations, morality is the first casualty,” he said. “We are still waiting for the EU to indicate to us when our delegation should go there and they certainly seem to be taking their time.”

A Zimbabwean government delegation was supposed to travel to Brussels in May for talks on improving ties, but the trip was cancelled as a result of the cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland that disrupted flights over Europe.

Relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union were strained 10 years ago by elections marred by violence and widespread allegations of human rights abuses by President Robert Mugabe’s

EU leaders in February renewed sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle for another year, citing a lack of progress in implementing political and human rights reforms. — Sapa-AFP

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