EU considering more Zimbabwe sanctions – envoys

BRUSSELS, (Reuters) – The European Union plans more sanctions on Zimbabwe next week unless there is progress in ending political deadlock before a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers, EU diplomats said.

The 27-nation bloc has prepared a list of 11 Zimbabwean officials to be added next Monday or Tuesday to the list of over 100 officials, including President Robert Mugabe, who cannot travel to the EU, two diplomats said.

One other official would be deleted from that blacklist, they said.

One diplomat said the plan was for the EU Council to adopt the additional sanctions on Monday, but that could be postponed if there was progress on the ground by then.

"All the documents are being prepared … pending a flash of light in Zimbabwe," a second diplomat said, adding that those to be added to the sanctions list were responsible for violence in the southern African country.

On-off power-sharing talks between President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC have made little progress since they reached a deal in September seen as the best hope of pulling Zimbabwe back from economic collapse.

A spreading cholera outbreak has added to Zimbabwe’s woes.

Critics blame the economic crisis on Mugabe’s policies, such as seizing white-owned farms to give to black Zimbabweans. The 84-year-old leader, in power since independence from Britain, blames sanctions from Western countries.

The diplomats said the final decision would be taken by EU foreign ministers on Monday or Tuesday — and not by EU envoys ahead of the meeting, as is often the case — to allow the bloc to take account of any progress in Zimbabwe.

"If we have to put more pressure we will put more pressure," a third EU diplomat said.

A draft statement prepared for Monday’s EU foreign ministers’ meeting also says that the EU is deeply concerned by the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe and urges full access to humanitarian aid for all of the country’s population.