EU suspends sanctions on most Zimbabwean firms, people

Brussels – The European Union has said it would immediately suspend travel bans and asset freezes on most Zimbabwean firms and people on its sanctions list after Zimbabweans approved a new Constitution curbing presidential powers.

"The EU ... has today agreed to immediately suspend the application of measures against 81 individuals and eight entities," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement today.

Ten people, including President Robert Mugabe, and two companies, including state-run diamond miner the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, remain on the sanctions list, an EU source said.

The European Union has been gradually easing its sanctions on Zimbabwe as part of a strategy to encourage political reform after 33 years of Mugabe's rule.

In a March 16 referendum, nearly 95% of voters approved the new Constitution, bringing the southern African state closer to an election.

Ashton said the "peaceful, successful and credible" vote was a significant step in the implementation of an agreement that created an uneasy coalition between Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai following violent and disputed elections in 2008.

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