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EU pressurises China over Zim

Clemence Manyukwe


THE European Union parliament is putting pressure on China over the Zimbabwe crisis, urging it to stop arms sales to Harare. It has also pressed China to allow moves to place Zimbabwe on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council

in which the Asian country holds a veto.

In a resolution adopted last week at a session in Strasbourg in France, the EU parliament also called on President Robert Mugabe to stand down “sooner rather than later”, a development the legislators described as the “largest single step possible towards reviving Zimbabwean society”.

The EU parliament urged the Security Council “to report on the human rights and political situation in Zimbabwe as a matter of urgency”.

It said it wanted “China and other countries that continue to supply weaponry and other support to the Mugabe regime to desist from doing so and join the international community in its efforts to bring about change for the better in Zimbabwe”.

It said whereas the United Nations was appealing for US$257 million in humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe, the government had completed a US$240 million deal to procure 12 K-8 military aircraft from China, with the army purchasing 127 vehicles for senior officers and another 194 expected soon.

Three proposed laws, the Interception of Communications Bill, the Supression of Terrorism Bill and the Non-Governmental Organisations Bill, also came under the spotlight, with government being urged to drop them.

Fears were expressed that Zanu PF would politicise food aid through its reported takeover of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society.

“(The EU) expresses great consternation at the Mugabe regime’s covert attempts to take control of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society by forcibly recommending the employment of regime members and supporters. It is fearful that this move will herald the use of ZRC’s food support as a political weapon,” it added.

On another issue, South Africa as the host nation of the 2010 World Cup as well as Fifa were called upon to exclude Zimbabwe from participating in pre-World Cup matches, holding international friendly games or hosting national teams involved in the event.

“The Mugabe regime must derive absolutely no financial benefit or propaganda value from either the run-up to the 2010 World Cup or the tournament itself,” it said.

The MEPs called on the bloc’s council to expand the scope of sanctions and to enlarge the list of individuals — which currently stands at 120 — to cover more government ministers, their deputies and governors, Zanu PF members, supporters and workers, in addition to family members, businessmen and other prominent individuals associated with Zanu PF.

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