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EU-Mugabe Meeting Fails to Resolve Sanctions Issue

By Ish Mafundikwa
12 September 2009

President Robert Mugabe has met with a European Union delegation, the first such meeting since 2002 when the EU imposed sanctions on Mr. Mugabe and senior individuals in his party and government for alleged human rights abuses. The parties failed to agree on the lifting of sanctions as demanded by the Zimbabwean government.

President Mugabe emerged from the more than one hour meeting and told journalists the meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere but the sanctions issue had not been resolved. He said the EU demands that the Global Political Agreement that brought about the unity government be implemented are groundless.

" Everything that we were asked to do under the GPA we have done and done timeously even. It is other matters of course that one might regard as constituting the spirit and environment in which the GPA should work which must now be attended to," he said.

Mr. Mugabe blamed the sanctions for Zimbabwe's long-running economic problems. When reminded that the sanctions targeted him and his inner circle he pointed out that he was still in power but the country's ordinary people were suffering.

"Sanctions have had a real effect on the performance of our industries, mining manufacturing, we can't get spare parts, we can't get credit lines and we are blocked in regard to aid from the IMF and World Bank," he said.

Sweden's Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, reiterated the EU stance that the sanctions are not against Zimbabwe. She said contacts with the Zimbabwean government will continue and the removal of the measures against Mr. Mugabe and others would depend on a number of issues being resolved.

"There are several and the implementation must now be conducted in a good way and we have discussed human rights violations, we have discussed the need for free media and some other things," said Carlsson.

The EU team, which leaves Zimbabwe on Sunday, is still to meet with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Mr. Tsvangirai wants the removal of sanctions to be conditional on the full implementation of the deal that brought about the unity government.

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