AFRICANGLOBE – The European Union (EU) yesterday lifted trade sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe 12 years ago on false allegations of human rights abuses.
The latest move will see the 28 member bloc open up aid accounts to the Southern African country.
In 2002 the EU suspended bilateral co-operation with the country’s government and had been channelling all humanitarian support through non-governmental organizations. The decision to lift the Zimbabwe trade sanctions will be officially endorsed this weekend.
But President Robert Mugabe and wife Grace will remain under an asset freeze and a ban on travelling to the EU for another year.
“We are most happy today to announce that the EU council confirmed this position and that appropriate measures will indeed effectively be lifted this weekend,” EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme told journalists in Zimbabwe capital Harare yesterday.
“I think we have reached any important stage of normalisation relations with Zimbabwe. The step we have taken is not a final step, but a very important one. What we need now is to rebuild trust.”
The EU bloc will from 2015, start a 234 million Euro ($300 million) five-year funding programme to support Zimbabwe health, agriculture and governance initiatives.
President Mugabe has previously urged the United States and the European Union to remove their “unilateral and illegal sanctions,” berating them for trying to achieve a “regime change” through sanctions in his country.
By: George Mpofu
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