EU suspends sanctions on 81 officials, 8 firms

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By Zimbabwe Investor on March 25, 2013. No Comments

President Mugabe and a few others remain on the sanctions list.

President Mugabe and a few others remain on the sanctions list.

The European Union has suspended sanctions against 81 officials and eight firms in Zimbabwe.

The decision followed a “peaceful, successful and credible” referendum on a new constitution earlier this month, the EU said in a statement.

However, sanctions will remain in force against Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and 10 of his top aides, an EU source told Reuters news agency.

The EU imposed sanctions, including a travel ban, in 2002.

It said it was in response to human rights abuses and political violence under Mr Mugabe’s rule.

Mr Mugabe and his rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, have been sharing power since disputed elections marred by violence in 2008.

The new constitution – endorsed by both Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai – expands civil liberties in Zimbabwe. Fresh elections are expected to be held sometime this year.

“The EU… has today agreed to immediately suspend the application of measures against 81 individuals and eight entities,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

She said the move was in response to the “peaceful, successful and credible” referendum on a new constitution on 16 March.

Allies of Mr Mugabe have long argued that the sanctions should be unconditionally removed and that they have had a negative impact on Zimbabwe’s economy.

Individuals left on the EU sanctions list:

President Robert Mugabe

First Lady Grace Mugabe

Happyton Bonyongwe (CIO Director-General)

Augustine Chihuri (Police Commissioner)

Constantine Chiwenga (Defence Forces commander)

Didymus Mutasa (Minister of State)

Douglas Nyikayaramba (Brigadier General)

Air Marshal Perence Shiri

Philip Sibanda (ZNA commander)

Jabulani Sibanda (War Veterans leader)

Firms left on the EU sanctions list:

Zimbabwe Defence Industries

Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation