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Zimbabwe Sanctions Continue to Divide European Union

  • Blessing  Zulu

European Union Headquarters

European Union Headquarters

The European Union is facing fresh divisions over Zimbabwe with Belgium and Britain at loggerheads over sanctions imposed on Harare, especially over the controversial Marange Diamonds in Chiyadzwa, Manicaland Province, east of the capital.

Diamond trade epicentre, Belgium, is pushing for the removal of sanctions on the state run Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) saying Europe agreed to lift sanctions against Harare after the July 31 elections, especially if regional bodies like the Southern African Development Community and the African Union endorsed the polls.

But the 28-member EU states are differing over how to interpret an agreement by its foreign ministers in February to lift sanctions on the ZMDC within a month of the election unless EU governments unanimously agreed the July 31 election in Zimbabwe was not "peaceful, transparent and credible.”

EU diplomats told VOA Studio 7 that Britain is leading the charge against lifting the so-called targeted measures saying it will be tantamount to rewarding president Robert Mugabe who Britain alleges has not reformed, adding the election did not represent the will of the Zimbabwean people.

SADC has also called on the West to lift the sanctions saying the people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough under the so-called targeted measures.

The regional group, in its report on the elections, said the polls were generally credible but could not rule on fairness saying this was affected by a number of issues, including the late release of the voters role and biased reporting.

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’ Ariccia told VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it’s still too early to call for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

He said the EU is yet to get a full report on the Zimbabwe elections from SADC adding that "we are also waiting to see what kind of government is established by President Robert Mugabe and what kind of policies the government will adopt as a start, so the review is ongoing."

International relations expert David Monyae told VOA the Zimbabwe issue will continue to divide the West.

He added that it is time Western nations reviewed their sanctions regime against Harare.