Mugabe's party rejects EU conditions on Zimbabwe sanctions
(HARARE) - President Robert Mugabe's party dismissed as "nonsense" the EU decision Monday to link the lifting of most sanctions against Zimbabwe firms and individuals to a peaceful vote on a new constitution.
"It's all nonsense," Rugare Gumbo, spokesman for the ZANU-PF party, told AFP.
"Why are they talking about a lifting of sanctions dependent on the holding and outcome of a referendum? We don't think that's the way to do it. We are saying all sanctions must go."
Mugabe and other top party officials routinely blame EU and US sanctions for undermining Zimbabwe's economy, but Gumbo insisted Monday that the measures have had little impact on the country.
"We really have never depended on the EU," he said. "We depend on ourselves so their decision on sanctions makes no difference."
EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday agreed to lift most sanctions against Zimbabwe firms and individuals once the country has held "a peaceful and credible" vote on a new constitution.
Welcoming "constructive dialogue" and political "progress", they also agreed to resume direct aid to Zimbabwe's government after a 10-year suspension.
The sanctions would be lifted against most of the 112 Zimbabweans still under an EU asset freeze and traval ban decided in 2002, once a referendum on a new constitution has been organised, probably at the end of the year.