BRUSSELS — The European Union (EU) said yesterday it would immediately suspend travel bans and asset freezes on most Zimbabwean firms and people on its sanctions list after Zimbabweans approved a draft 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.
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 EU 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 draft 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.