Geoffrey Van Orden MBE MEP, who has spearheaded the European Parliament’s campaign for freedom and democratic change in Zimbabwe, was cautiously optimistic about developments.
Mr Van Orden commented:
“Just as in Burma we have responded to a change of heart and real progress towards democratic change, so we must now recognise the possibility of positive developments in Zimbabwe. We have always said that restrictive measures, aimed solely at a governing elite that has trampled on the people of Zimbabwe, could be eased once there was serious change. There are indications that this will now happen and we need to be prepared to move accordingly. If there is any backward step then restrictive measures can be re-imposed and intensified.
“The adoption of a new constitution is a first step. The real test will be the elections that follow. The international community will expect the electoral preparations and the elections themselves to be carried out with scrupulous fairness, properly supervised to give international assurance. I remain concerned that those with a vested interest in the Mugabe regime and exploitation of Zimbabwe’s resources for their own benefit will try and ensure their continued grasp on power. There is no reason why all those genuinely committed to the future freedom and prosperity of the people of Zimbabwe, regardless of past political links, should not now seize the opportunity to begin to bring Zimbabwe back into the international community of democratic nations.”