EU considers extending Zimbabwe sanctions

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The European Union (EU) reportedly started deliberations last Friday that might culminate in the extension of targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe, citing failure by Zanu PF to fully implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Targeted measures on Zanu PF and government officials linked to the party which were extended for one year from February last year are set to expire next month.

The EU is currently assessing progress made since the formation of the inclusive government in 2008.

The bloc had promised to lift the sanctions if the parties in the GPA implemented all outstanding issues.

An EU source, who asked not to be mentioned, told NewsDay through an e-mail the bloc started holding discussions on Zimbabwe at the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, last week.

He said the deliberations would continue until the last minute of the current set of measures on February 20 as there were some disagreements among members on various aspects of the sanctions.

“EU is currently busy discussing different options with regard to the targeted measures,” the source said.

“The current situation in Zimbabwe is not the way that we had all hoped when it comes to implementation of the GPA. So it is difficult for the EU to lift the targeted measures. However, at the same time the EU will like to send a strong message that it would like to see relations normalised as it is looking at possibly easing some of the measures.”

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday expressed concern over the embargo on his party, saying the EU unilaterally imposed illegal sanctions on them and the party had since taken legal action against the EU and the United Nations.

“Sanctions are not healthy for the country and we have taken legal action through the Attorney-General’s Office against the EU and the UN respectively for imposing and allowing illegal sanctions to be placed on Zimbabwe,” Gumbo said.

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia last year said the bloc had found it hard to lift the ban due to violent skirmishes allegedly unleashed by Zanu PF.