New Zealand's Labour Party calls for removal of Zimbabwe sanctions

NEW ZEALAND's Labour Party says it is time to consider suspending sanctions against Zimbabwe, to encourage further progress towards democracy.\r\n

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Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai asked New Zealand to suspend its sanctions during his one-day visit to Wellington.

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Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Phil Goff introduced targeted sanctions against the regime of President Robert Mugabe when he was Foreign Minister in the last Labour-led government.

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He says “Morgan Tsvangirai is a man of courage, who follows in the footsteps of Nelson Mandala. Despite suffering assassination attempts, imprisonment, beatings and being wrongly tried for treason, Mr Tsvangirai is committed to reconciliation, rather than retribution.”

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“Real progress has been made in Zimbabwe, which is expected to hold a referendum on a new, democratic constitution by the end of the year. If that goes to plan, it may be time to suspend the sanctions.”

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“New Zealand must support progress in Zimbabwe, and such a gesture would strengthen the hand of democratic reformers.”

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Labour would also support New Zealand providing election monitors and other assistance to ensure next year’s elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair.

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“But if there was any military intervention or violence directed against democratic parties that prevented a free and fair election, the reintroduction of even tougher sanctions by the international community would be justified,” says Phil Goff.

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