Zimbabwe says EU has hidden agenda against it

19:57, July 20, 2010      

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Zimbabwe accuses the European Union (EU) of having a hidden agenda against it as shown by the bloc's constant change of goalposts on dialogue to normalize relations between the two.

Unnamed diplomatic sources close to recent re-engagement talks between Zimbabwe and the EU told the Herald newspaper on Tuesday that the bloc had made it clear that it will not remove sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe despite progress that has been made by the inclusive government to reform the economic and political situation in the country.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe formed an inclusive government with ex-enemies but now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara in 2009 following disputed elections the previous year.

The EU severed ties with Zimbabwe under Mugabe's Zanu-PF rule in 2002, citing lack of democracy and rule of law. The bloc has withheld development aid to the southern African country since then, and is only extending humanitarian assistance.

A few months after the formation of the new government, Tsvangirai led a Zimbabwean delegation to the EU to talk about normalizing relations, but he was told that Harare needs to implement further economic and political reforms before relations could return to normal.

The Zimbabwean government then formed a ministerial re- engagement committee comprising three ministers from Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara's parties to continue with the dialogue.

"The EU countries have their own agenda not related to what has happened in Zimbabwe, which renders this dialogue a mere public relations exercise and puts the efficacy of further dialogue into question," the source told the newspaper.

The Zimbabwean delegation to the July 2 talks in Brussels, Belgium told the EU officials led by High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Lady Catherine Ashton that Zimbabwe had made considerable progress that warranted the removal of the EU sanctions.

But the source said the EU was not convinced, and even pointed out that future dialogue should now be held in Zimbabwe with EU head of delegation in Harare Xavier Marchall.

"The EU felt there had not been enough progress in spite of the teams explanations. The EU have their own agenda and until such time the agenda is fulfilled the EU will not move," the source added.

Mugabe last week said Zimbabwe can do without Western aid and depend on its vast resources to grow the economy.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王千原雪)

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