Zimbabwe, EU dialogue to resume next month

18:45, June 28, 2010      

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Dialogue between Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU) to explore ways of normalising relations between the two sides will resume in July following EU has sent an invitation to Zimbabwe's ministerial team.

Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs Secretary Joey Bimha confirmed the resumption of the dialogue.

"The European Union has communicated to us through their delegation in Harare that the dialogue will resume on July 2. Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Elton Mangoma will lead the delegation because chairman of the re-engagement committee, Foreign Affairs Minister Mumbengegwi has other commitments," he was quoted by The Herald on Monday as saying.

Bimha said the Zimbabwean government was yet to receive the agenda for the meetings with EU head of foreign policy Lady Ashton of Britain. Foreign Minister Mumbengegwi would soon convene a meeting of the Zimbabwean team to agree on positions.

One issue that has already been agreed on is the need to immediately lift the illegal sanctions the bloc imposed on Zimbabwe. The two sides agreed to produce plans on what they had committed themselves to in the dialogue.

Talks should have resumed in April, but were postponed indefinitely after air services in most of Europe were suspended following the eruption of an Icelandic volcano that spread a cloud of ash across the continent. Since then, the EU had not made any formal communication to Harare on the way forward.

The dialogue was initiated last year but little headway has been made with the EU accused of not showing commitment.

Mumbengegwi accused the EU of not being committed to re- engaging Zimbabwe.

"We are still waiting for the EU to indicate to us when our delegation should go there and they certainly seem to be taking their time. It seems to suggest to us that the EU has never taken this dialogue seriously at all. They are just playing games with the lives of the people of Zimbabwe and I know that in international relations, morality is the first casuality," Mumbengegwi said.



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