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Berlin Downplays Threat to Cut Off Assistance to Zimbabwe Over Farm Seizure

  • Gibbs Dube

German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Teresa Ziehe said Berlin will work through diplomatic channels to pressure Harare to remove occupiers from the Manicaland province farm of Heinrich von Pezold

A German government spokeswoman said Friday that the country is not going to cut off aid to Zimbabwe over the occupation of the agricultural property of a German national in Zimbabwe, but will keep up diplomatic pressure for Harare to reverse the recent seizure of the farm in question.

German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Teresa Ziehe said Berlin will work through diplomatic channels to pressure Harare to remove occupiers from the Manicaland province farm of Heinrich von Pezold.

Ziehe told VOA that the German government has lodged a formal protest with Harare over the farm’s occupation, saying that the seizure under the land reform program violates bilateral agreements by the two countries.

She told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that Berlin cannot sever development aid as it has not provided any since 2002, though it has provided transitional assistance since the present unity government was launched.

Commercial Farmers Union President Deon Theron said foreign threats against the Zimbabwean government are unlikely to lead the country to reverse its land reform policies of the past decade.

Of some 4,000 farms owned by white commercial farmers when land reform was launched in 2000, only a couple of hundred remain under the control of their original owners, and many of those are under siege by militants.

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