SYDNEY — Australia is further easing sanctions against Zimbabwe after a constitutional referendum in the African nation has paved the way for democratic elections.
Foreign minister Bob Carr says sanctions against 65 individuals — including politicians, government officials and military personnel – and three entities will be lifted.
The move comes after more than 90% of Zimbabweans voted in favour of a new constitution on March 16 this year, with constitutional legislation being formally adopted last week.
Senator Carr said Australia’s decision was aimed at encouraging further democratic reforms.
“Zimbabwe’s next step must be the holding of free, fair and credible elections by the end of 2013,” he said.
Senator Carr said the government remained concerned about the fragile political situation in the troubled African nation.
“It has been made clear that Australian sanctions will be re-imposed should political reforms be derailed,” he said.
The government lifted sanctions against 55 people in March.
Australia still has travel and financial restrictions against 33 people — including President Robert Mugabe — and one entity, as well as an arms embargo and a ban on defence links.
Australia first adopted sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2002 after Mugabe trampled human rights and suppressed the country’s political opposition, led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government with Mugabe in 2009.
He called on Australia to suspend sanctions against his country when he visited Canberra in July last year.