12 February 2014

Zimbabwe: EU Review Meeting Complex - Envoy

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

European Union head of delegation to Zimbabwe Mr Aldo Dell'Ariccia yesterday described the forthcoming meeting of the bloc to review sanctions against Zimbabwe as "sensitive and complex". He said he was not sure about the possible outcome of the meeting slated for Brussels, Beligium, next week, saying consultations were ongoing with stakeholders before a definitive position on the sanctions could be made.

This is despite the EU refrain that it would take a cue from what the African Union and Sadc's verdict on the harmonised elections held last year which gave Zanu-PF a crushing victory over MDC-T.

Mr Dell'Ariccia yesterday gave some insights of what might come out of the meeting when he said the AU while acknowledging positives in the polls, it had raised some irregularities in the election process.

He said the EU had not taken a position on the polls, but relied on what the AU had said as it identified areas that needed improvement.

"These are extremely sensitive situations because we have to find consensus and unanimity," Mr Dell'Ariccia said. "At this stage I can't tell you anything, discussions are on-going and I am not in a position to tell what the conclusion would be."

Mr Dell'Ariccia said all EU ambassadors submitted their recommendations to their respective capitals based on their assessment of the situation in Zimbabwe and that would contribute to decision making.

"So, it's a complex process where everything is brought to consideration in order to make sure that the EU position is the best possible one," he said.

Mr Dell'Ariccia declined to disclose what his recommendations were, saying they were confidential internal communication.

The EU Council will review the illegal sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe.

Asked to comment on Zimbabwe-EU relations, Mr Dell'Ariccia said there was an improvement.

"They are progressing well," he said. "There has been progress in the country. It started in 2009 after the establishment of inclusive Government."

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