Wed, Jul 23, 2008 - Page 1 News List

EU keeps sanction pressure on Zimbabwe

AP , BRUSSELS

The EU is unlikely to ease sanctions against Zimbabwe any time soon, officials said yesterday, despite an agreement to hold power-sharing talks between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and the opposition that were to begin yesterday.

EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels were considering plans to tighten sanctions against Mugabe, notably a travel ban, in protest against his victory in last month’s presidential runoff in which he ran unopposed because of intimidation of opposition parties and violence against their supporters.

Diplomats and officials said 34 more people, including military chiefs and a journalist from a pro-Mugabe newspaper, were subjects of a travel ban and assets freeze blacklist likely to be approved.

The new sanctions includes three companies that back Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, including a farm cooperative and ZANU-PF’s publishing arm.

The EU already imposed travel and financial sanctions on 131 individuals connected to Mugabe’s regime in 2002.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said a face-to-face meeting between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday was only “a first step” and EU nations were expecting more proof that Mugabe was willing to sign up to a transitional government with the opposition.

On the table at yesterday’s EU meeting was a plan requiring all member nations to approve a visit by Mugabe before he would be allowed into the bloc.

They were also to assess whether to dissuade European companies from doing business with Mugabe’s government.

The bloc also has a ban on arms sales in place.

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