Tsvangirai hails EU sanctions decision

Cape Town – Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has welcomed the EU's decision to suspend most sanctions against Zimbabwean firms and individuals, saying this was "evidence the European Union is willing to respond to progress in reforms" in that country.

\r\n

Tsvangirai said in a statement on Tuesday that his preference, however, “remains for a full lifting of the measures [sanctions] in keeping with the agreement between the GPA [Global Political Parties] parties in Zimbabwe and resolutions of SADC”.

The EU on Monday met in Brussels and agreed to lift most sanctions against Zimbabwean firms and individuals once the country has held “a peaceful and credible” vote on a new constitution.

A statement from the 27 EU ministers said sanctions would be lifted against most of the 112 Zimbabweans still under an EU asset freeze and travel ban decided in 2002.

This would only occur once a referendum on a new constitution has been organised, probably at the end of the year.

Tsvangirai said he hoped Zimbabwe would in due course fully normalise its relationship with the EU and urged all parties to remain engaged.

“In particular, I urge the GPA [Global Political Agreement] parties in Zimbabwe to redouble their efforts in implementing the commitments that we made to fully and honestly implement the global political agreement and the roadmap to a free, fair, legitimate and credible election whose results are not contested,” said Tsvangirai. 

Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has dismissed as “nonsense” the EU decision to link the lifting of the sanctions to a peaceful vote on a new constitution.

“It’s all nonsense,” Rugare Gumbo, spokesperson for the Zanu-PF said.

“Why are they talking about a lifting of sanctions dependent on the holding and outcome of a referendum? We don’t think that’s the way to do it. We are saying all sanctions must go… We really have never depended on the EU,” he said. “We depend on ourselves so their decision on sanctions makes no difference.” – News24

\r\n