Mugabe party slams EU decision to ease sanctions
(HARARE) - President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party dismissed as "outrageous and preposterous" the decision by European Union foreign ministers Monday to only lift some sanctions against Zimbabwe.
"ZANU-PF will never accept any conditional removal of the illegal sanction or any self-serving initiatives meant to advance the economic interests of western nations," party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said in a statement.
"Lifting of the illegal sanctions must be unconditional and total. We believe that the current move to partially lift the illegal sanctions is intended to serve the interests of nations that want rough diamonds from our mines."
The statement came after officials said EU foreign ministers had lifted an asset freeze and travel ban against 21 Zimbabweans out of 112 currently on an EU blacklist and also struck one of 11 firms off the list.
The agreement comes 48 hours before the expiry of sanctions against the regime. It followed moves towards the adoption of a new constitution for Zimbabwe.
Gumbo said the partial lifting of sanctions was a western ploy to divide his party, adding that the sanctions were illegal as they were not approved by the UN.
He said his party would continue to push for the total lifting of the sanctions.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party hailed the partial lifting of sanctions as a welcome gesture, saying Zimbabwe's political leaders should end rights violations and restore relations with the EU bloc.
"We need to respect the rule of law, rights of citizens, the security of the vote and voter and stop harassing civic society activists," Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the MDC party, said.
"We need to throw away the badge of pariah state and join the family of nations."
Zimbabwe last week announced it would hold a vote on a new constitution next month and elections in July.