The European Union on Tuesday said it dropped sanctions against 35 political allies of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe - but extended travel and financial sanctions for another year on 163 others, including Mr. Mugabe, and 31 businesses.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Zimbabwe has made "significant progress" toward addressing its economic crisis and delivering basic services to its citizens. But she added that political reforms have not kept pace. She said she was deeply concerned about a recent surge in violence, in particular in the capital, Harare.
Addressing journalists in Harare today the EU spokesman in Zimbabwe, Emilio Rosetti, said the bloc took the 35 individuals off the list in recognition of some political reforms.
But European Parliament member Geoffrey Van Orden downplayed the list removals as an update in the case of deceased parties, in some cases, telling reporter Brenda Moyo the EU still wants to see Zimbabwe respect the rule of law and uphold human rights.
The independent newspaper Newsday reported that some of those removed from the EU sanctions list were the spouses of targeted political figures.