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EU Keeps Sanctions On Mugabe, Lifts Them On His Officials

The European Union today eased sanctions on eight of Zimbabwe’s most powerful political and military figures, but kept sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Reuters reports.
EU governments want to encourage positive change in Zimbabwe while retaining some leverage over Mugabe, according to Reuters.
Mugabe and his wife Grace will remain under an asset freeze and are banned from
travelling to the EU for another year. An arms embargo on Zimbabwe and sanctions on arms supplier Zimbabwe Defense Industries remain intact.

But sanctions, which are reviewed annually, were suspended on the eight senior Zimbabwe
officials still on the EU’s list, EU sources told Reuters. These include Constantine Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces; Army Commander Phillip Valerio Sibanda; Air Force Commander Perence Shiri; Intelligence Chief Happyton Bonyongwe; Police Chief Augustine Chihuri; and Didymus Mutasa, minister of state for presidential affairs.
Citing flawed voting in Zimbabwe’s July 2013 elections, the U.S. said it did not plan to loosen sanctions against Mugabe’s government until there were signs of change in the country.
The 28-nation EU, which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 to protest human rights
abuses and violations of democracy under Mugabe, has gradually eased sanctions over the last few years to encourage political reform.
EU ministers are expected Tuesday to pave the way for the EU to resume channeling development aid directly to the Zimbabwe government in 2015 after years in which the bloc shunned the government and worked with charities.
Rugare Gumbo, a spokesman for Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, told Reuters in Harare the EU concessions were not enough. “This is all nonsensical, we don’t accept these half measures. We want total and irrevocable removal of sanctions.
“They cannot keep the president on the sanctions list, what has Mugabe done? We have said we are open to talking to the EU but they have to remove those sanctions, they are hurting our people.”
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980. He will be 90 on Friday. He has clashed frequently with the West over his policies and accused the U.S. and
Britain in in September of trying to control his nation and its resources during a U.N. speech.
EU members were divided when Mugabe won a fifth term as president in the July elections. African observers said the Zimbabwe elections were fair; the opposition denounced them as fraudulent.
The EU invited Mugabe to take part in an EU-Africa summit in Brussels in April and offered an exemption from sanctions to visit Europe.
Mugabe took part in EU-Africa summits in Tripoli in 2010 and Lisbon in 2007, although his presence at the Lisbon summit prompted a boycott by then British Prime Minister Gordon
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