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Zuma has hope to convince EU on sanctions

24th March 2010

By: Sapa


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President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday that his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe should go some way towards persuading Europe and the US to drop targeted sanctions against Harare.

"We believe that the latest developments will certainly be helpful in that direction," Zuma told the National Assembly during question time.


Zuma reiterated that he made progress towards repairing fissures in Zimbabwe's fragile unity government last week when he held talks with President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on his first trip as mediator to the neighbouring State.

"The time was well spent," he said.


"The leaders and parties agreed to a package of measures to be implemented... The implementation of this package will certainly take the process forward.

On his State visit to Britain earlier this month, Zuma failed to convince Downing Street to ease sanctions until human rights concerns were addressed.

But he said that he won a concession from the British government that they would think about it. This, along with last week's agreement, might advance South Africa's case on sanctions.

"I think certainly it will go a long way. We debated a great deal particularly around the issue of sanctions, whether the sanctions were helping the process of Zimbabwe or not.

"Certainly the British leadership have a very strong view that sanctions are still important and that they will help.

"We hold a different view and we advance this view very strongly and by the time we left they were saying they will be thinking about it because they can see the sense and appreciated the fact that belonging to southern Africa we have an advantage of knowing the situation better.

"And I'm therefore very confident that the progress so far made in Zimbabwe should help the world, particularly those that have applied sanctions, see the need to help us succeed in Zimbabwe as quickly as possible."

Zuma insisted that it was misguided to maintain sanctions imposed against the Mugabe regime in 2003 despite the formation of a unity government last year.

He added that Mugabe insisted last week that the sanctions were dividing the unity government as his party faced restrictions that Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change did not.

"It therefore creates a problem for that unity to gel, to work together," he said.

"We don't need these sanctions now. Give this unity government a chance - it is not exactly as it was before. We need the sanctions to be lifted so that there is a chance for all of us to help Zimbabwe to solve its problems."

The agreements Zuma won from Zimbabwe's political leaders include that Tsvangirai would also lobby for sanctions to be lifted, that treason charges against MDC MP Roy Bennett would be dropped, and that attorney general Johannes Tomana would be replaced by someone acceptable to all three parties in the government.





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