Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, responding to the European Union’s extension this week of travel and financial sanctions on him and about 200 senior officials of his ZANU-PF party, said all partners in the national unity government in Harare agree that “sanctions must go.”
Speaking at a tourism investment summit in Harare on Wednesday, Mr. Mugabe said the West imposed such sanctions in retaliation for the land reform program he launched a decade ago and the loss of colonial control of resources.
The president also said Zimbabwe would sell its diamonds without certification by the Kimberly Process if Harare was pressured too much on compliance with Kimberly procedures designed to keep "blood diamonds" from market.
Christopher Mutsvangwa, a ZANU-PF Information Committee member and a former Zimbabwean ambassador to China, told reporter Blessing Zulu that the sanctions are not necessary. He said the West is vindictive because Harare redistributed land to blacks which had been taken from white farmers.
But National Constitutional Assembly Director Earnest Mudzengi said Harare has not done enough to warrant the lifting of sanctions.
Elsewhere, President Mugabe approved the posting of ambassadors from the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change – four from the MDC grouping led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and one from the MDC wing headed by Deputy Prime minister Arthur Mutambara.
Deployment of MDC ambassadors was one of the so-called outstanding issues still being negotiated by the partners in the unity government. Mr. Mugabe met separately with the five new envoys on Wednesday.
Former parliamentarian Trudy Stevenson of the Mutambara MDC, headed for Senegal, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that she will assume her diplomatic duties next week in Dakar.
Meanwhile, police arrested two members of Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change formation of while they were distributing copies of the prime minister's newsletter outside the Rainbow Towers Hotel where the president was addressing the investment conference.
VOA Studio 7 correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare.