The time has come to increase pressure on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down so that his strife-torn country can move forward, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said yesterday.
“The moment has arrived to put on the pressure for Mugabe to step down and give the opportunity once again to the people of Zimbabwe to get their life together and begin to move the country forward,” Solana told reporters as he arrived for talks with EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
“The important thing is the political pressure now,” he said.
Solana’s comments came the day after Zimbabwean state media blamed the country’s cholera outbreak, which has claimed nearly 600 lives, on European sanctions imposed on Mugabe’s regime.
The assembled EU foreign ministers were set to tighten up those sanctions yesterday, amid worries over the deteriorating humanitarian situation and political stalemate in the country.
They were to add 10 names to the EU’s sanctions list of 168 members of the Zimbabwe regime — which already includes Mugabe and his wife Grace, who are banned from entering EU nations and whose European assets have been frozen.
The EU ministers were also set to stress their “deep concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, particularly as a result of the cholera epidemic and the continuing violence against supporters of the [opposition] Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),” according to a draft statement seen by reporters.
The statement also calls for “a fair and viable power sharing agreement without delay.”