A senior British diplomat in Harare said Friday that the best way to bring about the lifting of sanctions aimed at President Robert Mugabe and other ZANU-PF officials and supporters is full implementation of the 2008 agreement for power sharing in Harare, and meaningful human rights and economic reforms.
British Embassy First Secretary Keith Scott said Britain wants to see the unity government adopt wider reforms before it backs the lifting of sanctions.
"We need to see progress on implementing the political and economic reforms that are in the global political agreement before we can move on these issues. The sanctions do not affect ordinary Zimbabweans, they only affect those they are targeted at," Scott told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo.
The Embassy issued a statement saying “the most important factor influencing the United Kingdom’s views on lifting European Union restrictive measures will be evidence of actual change and reform on the ground in Zimbabwe.”
"The key to having restrictive measures eased, or lifted, is for those in Zimbabwe who are currently resisted progress to implement the commitments to reform they agreed to in the Global Political Agreement," said the statement issued to clarify London's position regarding EU sanctions.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the House of Commons earlier in the week that a decision on lifting sanctions would be informed by advice from the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as well as developments on the ground in Zimbabwe.
Political analyst George Mkhwanazi told VOA the statement would strengthen the contention by the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe that the MDC can and must do more to obtain the lifting of sanctions. In that light the British statements appeared to be walking back the Miliband statement.
The European Union in 2002 set travel and financial sanctions on more than 200 key figures in the former ZANU-PF administration and 40 companies it said have perpetrated violence and human rights abuses in the past decade.