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Renewal Of EU Zimbabwe Sanctions Seen Likely - After Intense Debate

Although European Union sanctions against top Zimbabwean officials seemed likely to be renewed, Reuters reported, citing unnamed diplomatic sources, one Africa expert says there is likely to be much discussion among European partners as to whether sanctions have worked and whether other approaches must be pursued.

EU member states are divided over the sanctions, with hardliners such as Britain calling for maintenance of the travel and financial sanctions on ministers, ruling party brass and associates of President Robert Mugabe. But France, Spain and Portugal want to include Harare officials in summits like the one France is holding this month with its African partners, and an EU-Africa Summit planned later this year.

The last attempt to organize an EU-Africa Summit in 2003 ended in failure because African states said they would not participate if Zimbabwe was excluded. Europeans taking a softer line say they hope that progress can be made on resolving the Zimbabwe political and economic crisis in the context of such forums.

Reuters quoted EU Commission sources saying nothing has changed to warrant lifting sanctions. Zimbabwe ruling ZANU-PF party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira told the news service Britain is “pursuing a colonial practice, repression of other nations.”

For perspective on the imbroglio, reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Africa Confidential newsletter editor Patrick Smith, who said countries like France and Portugal "believe that sanctions haven't worked and that some other means must be taken to promote political change" in Zimbabwe.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...