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European Union Rebuffs EU-African Summit Pressure on Zimbabwe Sanctions


Presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi, currently holding the African Union chairmanship, spearheaded the latest bid to pressure the European Movement to lift travel and financial sanctions

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and fellow Southern African leaders attending an African Union-European Union summit in Libya urged the European Union on Tuesday to end targeted sanctions imposed on Mr. Mugabe and his inner circle.

Presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi, currently holding the African Union chairmanship, spearheaded the latest bid to pressure the European Movement to lift travel and financial sanctions.

Sources privy to developments the summit, which concluded Tuesday, saide EU leaders repeated that Mr. Mugabe and his closest associates must take reform seriously.

The British-based All-Africa Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe meanwhile lobbied EU leaders not to adopt what it termed a policy of "appeasement" in Zimbabwe.

The group issued a statement saying it was wrong for the European Union even to invite President Mugabe to the summit, saying that “he and his ruthless military will revel in this opportunity to strut the international stage with EU leaders."

David Banks, coordinator of the British parliamentary group, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that European leaders must force reform in Harare.

Reuters reported that Mr. Mugabe called on the International Criminal Court Tuesday to indict former US President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for war crimes instead of prosecuting Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Mr. Mugabe accused the ICC of double standards. "Why does this court not do the same with Tony Blair and George W. Bush, both of whom occupied Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of Iraq people," Reuters quoted the Zimbabwean president as saying.

Sudan boycotted the summit after the EU pressured Bashir not to attend.

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