EU: Mugabe sanctions will remain until peaceful elections occur

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

The European Union (EU) denied on Saturday that it was planning to lift a 10-year-old sanctions regime against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe as suggested by British press reports.

In February, the EU waived travel bans and asset freezes on dozens of Zimbabwean officials and companies and temporarily suspended them on two ministers from Mugabe's Zanu PF party, in a bid to encourage democratic progress.

But Michael Mann, a spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said that extending those concessions to the president was "simply not up for discussion."

"There is no question of lifting sanctions—asset freezes and travel bans—against Mugabe or anyone involved in continued abuses of human rights, incitement to violence," he said.

EU sanctions would only be lifted in full after the completion of a reconciliation deal between Mugabe's party and the opposition and once "peaceful and credible elections" had taken place, Mann said.

"Our focus remains not on Mugabe or his coterie; it is the people of Zimbabwe - their needs, legitimate aspirations, fundamental freedoms and rights. This is the context for any strategic review of EU policy," he added.—Sapa-DPA



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