Mugabe appeals to the EU to remove sanctions

Mugabe and his top Zanu (PF) officials were slapped with personal sanctions as well as travel restrictions for human rights abuses in the country in the past decade. Hundreds of opposition supporters were murdered and beaten in several elections since 2000 when Zanu PF began losing elections.

The EU has said it will only remove the sanctions once democratic reforms have been implemented.

Speaking at the launch of the National Trade and Industrial Development policies in the capital Mugabe said the sanctions are hurting the economy.

“The illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country by some Western countries have severely undermined Zimbabwe’s full participation in World Trade,” Mugabe said.

“We, nevertheless expect the European Union and the United States to negotiate in good faith , with the ministerial re-engagement team for the total and unconditional removal of these sanctions.”

A Cabinet Re-Engagement Committee is to deal with the crippling sanctions issue.

The sanctions issue as discussed in the Global Political Agreement, a pact which brought the unity government will be negotiated between a ministerial taskforce of Zimbabwe together with the EU officials. The EU has said Harare must respect basic freedoms and hold free and fair elections which will not be disputed while calling for non-violent elections.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in his question and answer session in the House of Assembly has said the people on the sanctions list must reform and not to repeat human rights violations that led to the imposition of the sanctions.

“I hope the European Union and the United States Government take us seriously and remove the sanctions which are killing our economy,” Mugabe said.

The Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, last week said Zimbabwe’s re-engagement process with the international community sought to normalise relations and the removal of sanctions.

Biti said with the support of the Southern African Development community (SADC) and the African Union (AU), the Cabinet committee would continue engaging the EU and the US for “normalisation of relations and removal of sanctions”.

The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Professor Welshman Ncube said the sanctions had indeed “crippled the industrial sector in Zimbabwe”. “This was worsened by the hyperinflation,” he said.