EU pushing for ‘re-engagement’ with Zimbabwe

The European Union (EU) is reportedly pushing for re-engagement with Zimbabwe to ‘normalise relations’, and has invited government officials for ‘dialogue’ in Brussels.

Ambassador Dell’Ariccia
Ambassador Dell’Ariccia

According to the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia, a letter of invitation was sent to Robert Mugabe last month. Ambassador Dell’Ariccia said the EU embassy in Harare had proposed dates for re-engagement meetings, convenient to both sides. He said the dates had already been forwarded to the EU headquarters for consideration.

The talks are now expected to resume at the end of this month or early next month, although there has been no confirmation yet. Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, Ambassador Joey Bimha, has been quoted by the state owned Herald newspaper as saying that they were still waiting for an official invitation from the EU’s Head of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton.

The EU’s relationship with Zimbabwe’s government has been strained ever since the europeans placed the targeted sanctions on Mugabe, his inner circle and other individuals and entities loyal to the regime. These punitive measures were a result of violence, vote rigging and human rights abuses that have yet to be addressed, despite the country now being run by a coalition government.

A lack of reform by ZANU PF, as well as a lack of any meaningful change in the country, has seen ‘shopping’ sanctions remain in place against the regime over the last three years since the unity government was formed. But the EU last month provoked criticism when it eased these measures, by delisting 50 individuals and 20 entities from its list. The European bloc said this was in recognition of ‘progress’ by the coalition.

ZANU PF maintains that the measures are illegal and damaging the country, despite them being specifically targeted and in no way a sanction on the country itself. It is now understood that a ZANU PF led ‘re-engagement’ team has agreed that improved relations with the EU will depend on the total lifting of the restrictive measures still in place. – SW Radio Africa News

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