No early end to Zim sanctions – UK

2010-03-04 14:45

London - Britain said on Thursday it wanted to see further progress on human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe before the European Union lifts sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his allies.

"The sanctions that the European Union has in place do not target Zimbabwe or Zimbabweans, they target individuals who are responsible for violence and a number of businesses linked to them," Prime Minister Gordon Brown said at a news conference with visiting South African President Jacob Zuma.

"We have reduced sanctions on some companies, we are ready to respond to other progress as it is made but I do emphasise the importance of the work of these (Zimbabwe) commissions in emphasising human rights, the freedom of the press and the reforms of governance," he added.

Mugabe and his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a unity government last year and have agreed on commissions to drive media, electoral and human rights reforms.

But the commissions have been slow to get off the ground and the two sides remain at odds over other issues.

After their economy collapsed, about three million Zimbabweans fled to regional power South Africa, which has been trying to broker a solution to the crisis.

"We are agreed that we should all put out heads together to find a solution in Zimbabwe so that Zimbabwe could move forward," said Zuma, in Britain on a three-day state visit.

He told the news conference there was the risk that some Zimbabweans could blame sanctions for stalling progress.

Economic agreement

There was greater unity on the economy where Britain and South Africa agreed that more needed to be done to guarantee strong growth after the G20 helped to prop up the global financial system.

In a joint declaration, the two countries also said they would work to make financial institutions more effective and accountable.

Looking ahead to a meeting of the G20 group of rich and developing nations in Canada in June, Brown said they had discussed his plan for a global financial levy.

"The UK and South Africa recognise the success of decisive G20 action in preventing a total breakdown of the world's financial system and putting in place the building blocks for global recovery," the joint statement said.

"Both countries agree that further policy action is necessary to make the transition from crisis response to strong and sustainable growth," it added.