EU set to suspend Zimbabwe sanctions

2014-02-17 11:27

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Brussels – European Union (EU) ministers are due to approve the suspension of most sanctions against Zimbabwe today although those against President Robert Mugabe will remain in place, say diplomats.

The EU imposed restrictive measures on Zimbabwe in 2002 in response to a government crackdown on the opposition and the eviction of white farmers.

The sanctions have gradually been eased in recent years after political improvements, but measures remained in place against key individuals in Mugabe’s inner circle.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said: “The sense is that Zimbabwe’s moving ... and that we need to respond. If things go badly, we can move back again.”

Travel bans and asset freezes against eight people will be suspended leaving only Mugabe and his wife, Grace, on the EU’s blacklist, said the diplomats.

However, Mugabe can attend an EU-Africa summit scheduled for April in Brussels because European countries are not bound by the EU ban when they host international conferences.

The EU will also keep sanctions in place against the army supplier, Zimbabwe Defence Industries. The bloc’s weapons embargo on the country will also remain unchanged, said the diplomats.

EU governments have informally agreed to the changes already, leaving the bloc’s agriculture ministers to waive them through today.

The adjustments will come into effect with their publication in the bloc’s official journal.

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