"Anti-democratic forces still strong in Zimbabwe" – Sweden

Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson says that she is very concerned about what is happening in Zimbabwe after recent developments in the country.

Following the imprisonment of MDC representative Roy Bennett a few days ago, Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his party decided to terminate their cooperation in the governing coalition with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

"I am very concerned about what is currently going on in Zimbabwe. I called Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the weekend and I understand his and his party’s decision to suspend participation in government meetings.

As holder of the Presidency of the EU we have come out and strongly criticised the arrest of Roy Bennett, who has now been released on bail but will soon be placed on trial.

The persecution of MDC-supporters – even members of parliament – that has been ongoing for some time is unacceptable," says Ms Carlsson.

"It has recently become increasingly obvious that anti-democratic forces still have great influence in Zimbabwe. When I was in Zimbabwe recently on a troika visit I delivered a very clear message that the power-sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA) must be implemented.

We stressed that the people of Zimbabwe must be allowed to enjoy respect for their human rights and that political violence must cease. We conveyed this directly to President Mugabe. The EU cannot normalise its relations with Zimbabwe until we can see tangible progress."

The commitment of the rest of the world to implementing the GPA is crucial. The EU’s and Sweden’s commitment is, and will continue to be, strong. Morgan Tsvangirai has also specifically asked the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help resolve the crisis the government finds itself in.

"We now all expect the SADC to live up to its responsibilities. It must exert great pressure on the Zimbabwean government to pursue the GPA and make cooperation work.

I am continuously discussing Zimbabwe with SADC ministers and conveying this message to them," says Ms Carlsson.