EU: Too early to lift sanctions

Johannesburg - The European Union will not lift sanctions against Zimbabwe until a new unity government fully complies with the terms of a power-sharing deal, the EU ambassador to South Africa said on Thursday.


Lodewijk Briet said in a statement that the European Commission
welcomed opposition leaderMorgan Tsvangirai’s decision to join the
unity government as prime minister.

"While we underline that this is a positive development, it does not
itself spell the end of the political, economic and humanitarian crises
Zimbabwe finds itself in," he said.

"This first step towards normalising the situation in Zimbabwe must be
underpinned by clear confidence building measures by the new
government," the statement said.

"In this light, we consider calls for the immediate lifting of the EU’s
targeted measures to be premature and would first encourage all parties
to comply fully with the terms of the power-sharing agreement," Briet

He reiterated that the EU sanctions do not target Zimbabwe’s population
but "a defined number of people and companies that have been clearly
linked to the government and the failure to respect basic human rights
and democratic practice".

The sanctions are limited to travel restrictions and asset freezes, he said.

"The EU remains the main provider of humanitarian and essential
development assistance to Zimbabwe," giving nearly €90m annually.

The African Union and South Africa at the weekend called for the
lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe, following Tsvangirai’s decision
to join the government.

The unity government has stalled for months following bickering over
allocation of key ministries, including home affairs, which oversees
the police.

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