Sweden pledges to normalize EU, Zimbabwe relations

The diplomat said Sweden, which will assume the EU presidency in July, would prioritize re-engagement with Zimbabwe, among other issues, local media New Ziana reported.

The relations between Zimbabwe and the EU soured in 2000 following policy differences, resulting in the bloc’s imposing sanctions, which have seriously hurt the economy.

"We (EU) have already started formal dialogue with Zimbabwe on how to normalize relations," Rylander said. He, however, said the "success in restoration of normal relations will depend on the willingness of all players in the Global Political Agreement (GPA)to address outstanding substantive issues."

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF and the two opposition MDC formations signed the GPA in September last year, which paved way for the establishment of a coalition government in February.

But since formation, some issues remain unresolved, including the appointment of provincial governors, ambassadors, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor and the Attorney General.

Rylander said once normal relations were restored, Sweden would increase its assistance to Zimbabwe. "Once outstanding issues in the GPA have been resolved there will be direct engagement with the government for funding of economic programs. At the moment we are only assisting aid organizations," he said.

The Scandinavian country was supporting local organizations to the tune of 20 million U.S. dollars per year. Bilateral and multilateral donor organizations have pledged to assist Zimbabwe’s economic recovery program but on indications of what they called genuine power sharing by the inclusive government as well as strict adherence to the provisions of the GPA.

The coalition government has drawn up a Short Term Economic Recovery Program that required at least 8.3 billion dollars to implement.