THE European Union is by the end of July expected to make a major decision on lifting the illegal sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe.
This follows a presentation by a Zimbabwean delegation at the EU Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday.
The re-engagement team made it clear that there was no justification for the continued sanctions.
The High Representative for EU Foreign Affairs and Policy Lady Catherine Ashton met the Zimbabwean delegation comprising members of all parties in the inclusive Government.
She pledged to consult the bloc’s members for the total removal of the embargo.
Zanu-PF representative and Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa said they had a cordial, but candid meeting with Lady Ashton, who is also vice president of the EU Commission.
“We had a meeting this afternoon with Lady Ashton
and I can characterise the meeting to have been very frank, but held under a cordial atmosphere,” he said.
“The delegation spoke as one and made a strong case for the lifting of sanctions.
“We made it clear that there was no justification for the continued existence of the sanctions and that we should normalise Zimbabwe and EU relations.”
Minister Chinamasa said the delegation told Lady Ashton that the sanctions were undermining political dialogue in the country.
“We also told her that the sanctions were not only an impediment to Zimbabwe-EU relations, but were also poisoning the political situation in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Lady Ashton explained that she had no power to take decisions on the matter and that the matter would come up for review in July by the membership of the EU.
“She undertook to consult and discuss the matter with the EU membership on the lifting of all sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and that the matter will come up for a decision by the end of July.”
Other members of the Zimbabwean delegation, Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and Regional Integration and International
Co-operation Minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) could not be reached for comment.
The delegation is expected back home today.
Zanu-PF yesterday said the EU should unconditionally remove the illegal sanctions.
“The talks should centre on the sanctions that the EU illegally imposed on Zimbabwe after Britain elevated a bilateral issue (the land problem in Zimbabwe) into an international issue,” said party spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo.
“We totally reject the notion that the illegal sanctions are targeted at selected individuals and organisations.
“Zimbabweans from all walks of life are suffering as factories have continued to close down, resulting in the loss of jobs.”
Cde Gumbo said Zanu-PF applauded the resolute and common stand taken by the three political parties in the GPA that the illegal sanctions must be unconditionally removed.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said his party wanted the re-engagement committee to bring “results” from Belgium.
“It is not a one-sided affair,” he said.
“The Zanu-PF side of Government must renounce violence and be committed to free and fair elections.”
In February, the EU removed 51 individuals and 20 companies from the sanctions list.
The bloc then indicated its willingness to re-engage Zimbabwe on the sanctions.
Lady Ashton wrote to President Mugabe in February indicating the bloc’s willingness to engage in “intensified” political dialogue with Zimbabwe.
The President has repeatedly said the illegal sanctions should be totally repealed.
Although his party played a part in the imposition of the illegal sanctions, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told the House of Assembly in March that the sanctions must be removed in totality.