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EU deplores Zim situation

Staff Writer

THE European Union presidency has deplored the worsening crisis in Zimbabwe ahead of a decision next month on whether targeted sanctions against the country should be tightened.

Irish Foreign minister Brian Cowen said there was no positive development in the country.

“There are very serious concerns about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Ireland currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

The EU in 2002 imposed travel restrictions on 72 of Zimbabwe’s top government and ruling party officials, including President Mugabe, accusing them of human rights abuses and electoral fraud.

The EU is on February 18 expected to make a decision on the review of the sanctions regime.

“I can’t predict what the outcome of that discussion will be,” Cowen said.

He said the economic bloc was exploring various avenues to resolve the crisis.

“What we’re trying to achieve is a reform and a democratisation here. It is a question of us agreeing the means to do so and there are different views on that, as to how best to expedite it,” he said.

Last year France threatened to block the extension of sanctions if it did not receive an exemption allowing Mugabe to travel to Paris for a summit.

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