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EU to review sanctions periodically

Leonard Makombe

THE European Union (EU) is willing to review sanctions against Zimbabwe and corporations periodically, departing from the annual examination based on real positive political developments in the country, the bloc’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe has said.

 

Aldo Dell’Ariccia said last week’s delisting of 35 personalities, who include wives of army, police, intelligence and senior government officials, was taken in the framework of the re-engagement between Zimbabwe and the bloc since the signing  of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in 2008 and the institution of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in February two years ago.

 

In an interview yesterday, Dell’Ariccia said: “The important part that has been underestimated by many observers (after the council’s meeting to review the sanctions last week) is that the EU has declared to be ready to revisit the decisions at any time if we receive, from Zimbabwe, the evidence of further developments in respect of the rule of law, human rights and democratic reforms.”

The ambassador said its decision-making process was informed by “the parties” commitment towards the GPA and towards the elections to permit the will of the people to prevail.”

The delisting of 35 personalities from the sanctions list was seen by some sectors as ineffectual especially because the spouses of army, police, intelligence and government listed persons could transact business on behalf of their partners.

Dell’Ariccia said the wives and other politicians were delisted in their own capacities and they could do their own business as they were seen not to be undermining the rule of law, respect for human rights and democratic reforms.

The review came against a background of a surge in violence blamed on Zanu PF although the party has vehemently denied the accusations and in turn blamed the MDC-T.

“The review was a result of the assessment since February last year; the EU took stock of the progress in addressing the economic crisis and the improvement in service deliveries, in particular education and health,” said Dell’Ariccia. “Unfortunately the progress on the political front was not equivalent and that is why we could not go any further (remove more people). Whenever we receive a message from the country that the situation is improving, we are ready to review the decision.”

He added that there was also a possibility of further tightening the restrictive measures should the political situation worsen with the eruption of political violence.

The EU slapped Zimbabwe with “targeted sanctions” in 2002 after violent polls which led to the re-election of President Robert Mugabe.

During the election, Zimbabwe had invited individual countries from the EU to observe the elections, but evicted Pierre Schori, then Swedish ambassador to the United Nations, as the head of the bloc’s observer mission.

The institution of the GNU saw Zimbabwe re-engaging the bloc and in July last year a team of ministers representing the three political parties in the inclusive government met the EU High Representative for the European Foreign and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.

Dell’Ariccia said that further to that meeting, and based on the presentation by the three re-engagement team ministers on the progress in the implementation of the GPA, the EU had notified to the government of Zimbabwe that 138 million Euros from the European Development Fund (used to support development in African/Caribbean/Pacific countries) were earmarked for Zimbabwe.

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