Zimbabwe set to resume dialogue with EUBy KITSEPILE NYATHI in Harare | Tuesday, May 8 2012 at 12:03
Zimbabwean Government ministers were on Tuesday due to meet European Union (EU) officials in Brussels to discuss normalisation of ties.
The EU slapped President Robert Mugabe and over 160 individuals with sanctions a decade ago accusing the veteran ruler of electoral fraud and human rights violations.
In February, the block removed 51 officials from the list but Mr Mugabe and 112 individuals from his Zanu-PF party remain under the embargo.
President Mugabe and his inner circle were banned from travelling to the EU while several state owned companies were also sanctioned.
The three ministers that travelled to Brussels are drawn from the parties in the inclusive government formed in 2009.
“The (Zimbabwean) ministers have met and are ready for the dialogue,” Foreign Affairs secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha said. “The message is obviously the normalisation of relations.”
He said they want the EU to extend the removal of all sanctions. The ministers will meet EU foreign chief Catherine Ashton.
On the eve of the dialogue, Zanu-PF insisted that it would not accept EU observers in elections President Mugabe wants held this year.
“They have preconceived ideas about Zanu-PF and will never recognise a victory by our leader and Zanu-PF,” the party’s spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said.
“Such observers will sham a Zanu-PF victory because they are on the side of our rivals.
“We cannot have institutions that want to see our downfall assisting us or monitoring us,” he added.
“They imposed sanctions on us and they have been pushing for our ouster and for that they will not be fair in judging our elections after we win.”
The EU first slapped sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 after President Mugabe deported an observer mission from the block ahead of a controversial presidential election.
EU says despite the sanctions it had provided over $1 billion in development assistance to the southern African country since 2009.
Besides the EU, the US and Australia have a raft of sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Normalisation of ties has been delayed by the slow pace of reforms blamed on President Mugabe.
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