SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: Australia Eases Targeted Sanctions

Australia has joined the European Union (EU) in rewarding the coalition government for 'progress', by easing its restrictive measures still in place against the Mugabe regime.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said 55 individuals would be de-listed, including some ZANU PF politicians, members of the judiciary and media, provincial governors and leading business figures.

"These individuals are not considered to be hindering democratic reforms or undermining the ultimate goal of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. Nor are they thought to be involved in human rights abuses," Carr said.

98 individuals and four entities remain on the list of measures, which include travel and financial restrictions, an arms embargo and prohibition on defence links.

Carr said that Zimbabwe's reform process had been "painfully slow", but leaders such as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were making 'genuine progress'.

Carr had announced in February that his country's targeted measures against Zimbabwe would begin to ease, as soon as a date for a constitutional referendum was set. This is part of a three stage roadmap Australia has pledged to implement, leading to the total removal of the measures.

Under the roadmap, Australia will continue easing the sanctions when a peaceful and credible constitutional referendum is held, and if free and fair elections are held. Sanctions would be reintroduced if progress towards free and fair elections became derailed.

Last month, the EU also moved to 'reward' Zimbabwe for its progress, by easing its targeted measures against 21 individuals linked to the Mugabe regime. This includes the self styled Masvingo 'war vet' Shuvai Mahofa who is dubbed the 'iron lady' of the province, and who is linked to the illegal seizure of land in the Save Valley Conservancy. Also de-listed was 'war vet' Gilbert Moyo, who led campaigns of violence and terror in Chegutu for many years.

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