Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, who spearheads the European Parliament's campaign for freedom and democratic change in Zimbabwe, welcomed the Council's decision to maintain restrictions.
"While there has been some progress in Zimbabwe, not enough has changed in the political situation and basic democratic freedoms continue to be seriously abused. Mugabe and Zanu-PF continue to flout the key terms of the 'Global Political Agreement' they signed with Tsvangirai's MDC party more than three years ago.
"A visibly ailing Mugabe, ever more dependent on his security service chiefs, still clings on to the levers of power and manages to trample on the basic rights of the Zimbabwean people. In the run-up to future elections, which must be held before April 2013, attacks on journalists, MDC supporters and civil society activists at the hands of Zanu-PF and security service personnel have worryingly increased.
"Key elements of the economy – diamond mining in particular – are still controlled by the Mugabe clique.
"Until Mugabe and his cronies step aside and there is real evidence of change, including free elections and an end to harassment of the opposition and journalists alike, the EU is right to keep its measures in place. Contrary to the false claims by Mugabe's Zanu-PF loyalists, these are not 'sanctions' against the Zimbabwean people but carefully targeted measures against 112 individuals and 11 companies that have directly supported Mugabe and his oppressive agenda," said Van Orden.Post published in: Africa News