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British Embassy clarifies UK position on sanctions.

British embassy clarifies UK position on sanctions

 By Lance Guma
 25 January 2010

 The British Embassy in Zimbabwe has moved to clarify comments made by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who had suggested targeted sanctions on companies and members of Mugabe’s inner circle would only be removed on  the advice of the MDC.
 Responding to questions in parliament last week Tuesday Miliband had said; ‘In respect of sanctions, we have made it clear that they can be lifted only in a calibrated way, as progress is made . and, above all, to be guided by what the MDC says to us about the conditions under which it is working and leading the country.’
 The statement was a godsend for ZANU PF and the  state owned media, who have seized on it as clear evidence the MDC has been responsible for the imposition of the targeted sanctions.
 The British Embassy in Harare has now issued a clarification saying the most important factor influencing the UK’s views on lifting EU restrictive measures ‘will be evidence of actual change and reform on the ground in
 This judgment they said ‘will need to take into account the views of a number of stakeholders, including the MDC, on the economic, social and other conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe.’ The embassy also added that the
 key to having the restrictions lifted was for those resisting progress to implement commitments to reform, agreed to in the unity deal.

 Mugabe and his ZANU PF party have over the past decade deflected attention from their destruction of the economy by blaming the travel and financial restrictions placed on members of its inner circle. At least 203 officials and 40 companies, involved or linked with violence and human rights abuses, had the measures imposed on them.
 The British Embassy said the measures did not ‘affect the development of legitimate trade or business’ and also did not have any adverse effect on humanitarian assistance. Just a few months ago Britain provided US$100 million in aid.
 The remarks by Miliband galvanized ZANU PF into demanding that the MDC call for the removal of the restrictive measures on the ruling elite.

 Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa and ZANU PF national chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo, said the MDC could no longer claim it had no influence over the issue. ‘Britain has let the cat out of the bag on the issue of sanctions. They have admitted that the MDC called for the sanctions and it can only remove them on the request of the MDC,’ he claimed.

 Newsreel asked MDC Foreign Affairs spokesman, Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, to respond to Moyo’s claims. He told us, “We don’t formulate foreign policy on any country’s behalf. We are saying that they should
 judge us by the progress that we have made so far in the commitments we have undertaken.’

 Mukonoweshuro said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had called for a lifting of the restrictive measures in his speech to parliament last year.
 Additionally the coalition government set up an all-party ‘Re-engagement Committee’ led by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, to campaign for an opening up of relations with the West.


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