UK supports ZCTU – Triesman

LONDON - The British government is becoming increasingly worried about European Union solidarity on the Zimbabwe issue according to Lord Triesman, Minister for Africa. He was speaking at a meeting in London arranged by ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa, the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Move

ment) in support of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
The meeting was attended by Lovemore Matombo, one of the ZCTU leaders who was beaten up with his colleagues by Zanu (PF) thugs after their recent pro-democracy protest. Also attending was Kate Hoey, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, who was warmly praised for her work by the Minister.
Lord Triesman said targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his supporters must be maintained, yet there were signs of wavering from France and Portugal. President Chirac of France wanted to host a conference for African leaders, including Mugabe, in defiance of the EU’s policy. The French were supported in this by Portugal, which takes over the EU Presidency in July next year and wants to host a meeting with the African Union.
Lord Triesman said the EU sanctions were due to be renewed in February and trade unions and others should press for them to be continued.
In a remarkably outspoken speech, he said that Zimbabwe was a failing state which faced all its problems with brutal suppression.
He said the UK Government unequivocally supported the ZCTU and the Zimbabwe Ambassador had been called in to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and asked to account for his government’s actions.
South Africa had genuine dilemmas about the situation in Zimbabwe but there were signs of increased willingness by Pretoria to confront the issue. It was crucial, he said, to continue to apply pressure on South Africa.
Lord Triesman said his government couldn’t stand aside while Zimbabweans starved and had spent £38 million on food aid for Zimbabwe in the last financial year. It was also pressing the UN to engage the Zimbabwe issue as well as putting pressure on other African governments. – Zim Vigil

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