EU Eases Sanctions on Zimbabwe

Posted February 17th, 2012 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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The European Union has dropped sanctions against dozens of Zimbabweans but is keeping restrictions on President Robert Mugabe and hardliners within his ZANU-PF party.

In a statement Friday, foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced the EU has lifted visa bans and asset freezes on 51 people and 20 entities linked to the president and ZANU-PF.

Ashton said the move is aimed at encouraging Zimbabwe's unity government to continue progress toward “free, fair, peaceful and transparent elections.”

The EU said sanctions will continue against 112 individuals and 11 entities linked to policies that “undermine human rights, democracy and the rule of law.”

ZANU-PF and Mr. Mugabe have repeatedly demanded that all sanctions be removed. A ZANU-PF spokesman told VOA this week that the EU move is inadequate.

The United States and Europe accuse President Mugabe of driving Zimbabwe to ruin with years of political repression and economic mismanagement, especially the seizure of white-owned commercial farms.

The president blames his country's problems on the sanctions.

Mr. Mugabe was forced to share power with the longtime opposition MDC party after the disputed and violence-plagued 2008 elections.