EU Punishes Mugabe for Rigging Zimbabwe Election

By John Chimunhu

The European Union has extended sanctions on Robert Mugabe until February 2015, citing election rigging by the 90-year-old dictator.
A 12-year-old weapons embargo has also been renewed, further crippling the country’s poorly-equipped army.
The EU’s top diplomat, High Representative Catherine Ashton said in a declaration issued in Brussels Wednesday that sanctions on all targeted individuals were being lifted, except for a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and his wife Grace and restrictions on the state-controlled arms supplier Zimbabwe Defence Industries.
“We remain seriously concerned about the significant weaknesses identified in the electoral process and the lack of transparency identified by the SADC, AU and domestic observations missions, which calls into doubt the credibility of the elections,” Ashton said in a declaration on behalf of the powerful 28-member bloc. “The EU believes that significant improvements in the electoral process are required along the lines proposed by international and domestic observers, if future elections are to be both credible and transparent. In particular, the EU would like to see the Zimbabwean authorities make progress on implementing the recommendations of the African Union Observer Mission concerning the verification of the voter’s roll and the liberalization of the media, and completing outstanding reforms, including those related to the security sectors.”
Ashton said the measures against Mugabe had no direct impact on the Zimbabwean economy, adding that development aid to the country could resume by November, “provided there is no serious deterioration in the governance and human rights situation”.

TRANSCRIPT:
Declaration by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton,
on behalf of the European Union on the review of EU-Zimbabwe relations.

Brussels, 19 February 2014.

The European Union has reviewed its relations with Zimbabwe and has today taken a
further step towards normalisation of those relations. This reflects not only the progress
that has been made but also the challenges that remain. The EU has taken these steps to
support the Zimbabwean people to achieve a more prosperous and democratic future.
The EU has decided today to suspend the remaining restrictive measures with the
exception of the arms embargo and those targeting two individuals – the Head of State and
his spouse and one entity – Zimbabwe Defence Industries. The EU reiterates its position
that these Measures do not have any direct economic or social impact on the Zimbabwean
people, and should not be blamed for the wider socio-economic challenges facing the
country.
The EU has welcomed the generally peaceful manner in which the 2013 elections were
conducted. However, we remain seriously concerned about the significant weaknesses
identified in the electoral process and the lack of transparency identified by the SADC, AU
and domestic observations missions, which calls into doubt the credibility of the elections.
The EU believes that significant improvements in the electoral process are required along
the lines proposed by international and domestic observers, if future elections are to be
both credible and transparent. In particular, the EU would like to see the Zimbabwean
authorities make progress on implementing the recommendations of the African Union
Observer Mission concerning the verification of the voter’s roll and the liberalization of
the media, and completing outstanding reforms, including those related to the security
sectors.
As a clear indication of the EU’s commitment to assist the people of Zimbabwe, the EU
agreed to maintain the suspension of appropriate measures under Article 96 of the Cotonou
Agreement. Provided there is no serious deterioration in the governance and human rights
situation, the EU has agreed that appropriate measures will expire on 1 November 2014.
This enables the EU to continue engaging with the Zimbabwean authorities and to make
further progress on the programming of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF)
National Indicative Programme (2014-2020) and to submit it to the EDF Committee. In
line with normal practice, the formulation of the NIP under the 11th EDF will be guided by
the essential and fundamental principles of the Cotonou Treaty and focus on supporting
democratic reforms contained in the new Constitution, as well as on achieving economic
reforms and equitable growth to further improve the life of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Rue de la Loi 175 B – 1048 BRUSSELS Tel.: +32 (0)2 281 6319 Fax: +32 (0)2 281 8026. press.office@consilium.europa.eu http://www.consilium.europa.eu/press

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