6 February 2013

Zimbabwe: VP Nkomo Could Be Off EU Sanctions List

Photo: IRIN
A fresh produce market in Mbare, Harare.

THE restrictive measures slapped on the elite in ZANU-PF come under review in a fortnight with the name of the late vice president John Nkomo likely to be struck-off the blacklist.

A number of black-listed ZANU-PF officials seen as progressive during the past 12 months and those that have passed on could be beneficiaries of the review process done every February.

A couple of State-owned entities might also get reprieve.

A European Union (EU) team is already finalising the issue in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

EU delegates canvassed by this newspaper ruled out a wholesale and unconditional removal of the measures although there is a feeling the measures have failed to break President Robert Mugabe's spirit since their enactment in 2001 when the EU bloc cited human rights abuses and electoral fraud.

The measures bar those on the blacklist from travelling and transacting in the EU member states.

The EU has previously insisted on the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement forged by the principals to the power-sharing pact.

Aldo Dell'Ariccia, the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, on Tuesday said the final decision on the annual review of the bloc's sanctions would be announced in about a fortnight.

"The annual review of EU's restrictive measures is on-going at present, and a decision is expected to be adopted at the EU's Foreign Affairs Council of 18 February," said Dell' Ariccia, refusing to be drawn into confirming the names of ZANU-PF officials and companies likely to be removed from the blacklist.

"At this point it is not possible or appropriate to comment on the potential outcome of the review. Once the Council decision is taken, I will convoke a press conference and I can also give you a bilateral interview," he said.

Last year, the 27-member bloc removed 51 people including journalists and politicians from the restrictive measures in what analysts believed was part of efforts to foster re-engagement between Harare and Brussels in the wake of the existence of a coalition government. Twenty companies were also let off the hook.

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