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Top European Union Diplomat to Engage Zimbabwe Government in Forthcoming Visit

  • Tatenda Gumbo

The visit by Managing Director for Africa Nick Wescott of the European External Action Service closely follows a recent communication to the EU by Attorney General Johannes Tomana challenging the legality of sanction

The European Union’s top diplomat for Africa will arrive in Harare next Monday to engage the country's unity government, civil society and representatives of the business community, the European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe said Thursday.

The visit by Managing Director for Africa Nick Wescott of the European External Action Service closely follows a recent communication to the EU by Attorney General Johannes Tomana challenging the legality of sanctions the E.U. has maintained on President Robert Mugabe and scores of other top ZANU-PF officials for years.

The EU Council had yet to respond, but European Parliament Member Geoffrey Van Orden, head of the Euro-Parliament’s Campaign for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, quickly replied saying that until there is real evidence of change with free elections and an end to harassment of the opponents of ZANU-PF, sanctions will stay in place.

The targeted sanctions bar travel in the EU and provide for the freezing of assets.

Van Orden said "these are not sanctions against Zimbabwe and her people but carefully targeted against 163 individuals and 31 companies that have supported Mugabe."

The EU Delegation said Wescott’s visit could not be linked to Tomana’s letter.

Analysts said the visit continues a re-engagement process between Zimbabwe and the European Union launched after the unity government came to power in 2009.

Political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube said the EU will only seriously engage Zimbabwe when there is true democratic change in the country.

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