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Europe

EU Holds Off on Extending Zimbabwe Sanctions

European Union foreign ministers on Monday decided not to impose further sanctions on Zimbabwe pending a closer study of the political deal between the country's rival factions.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, right, talks to French Secretary for European Affairs Jean Pierre Jouyet during a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels, Monday Sept. 15, 2008.

The EU will study the deal, foreign policy chief Javier Solana, right, said Monday

The council of EU member states "welcomes the conclusion of a political agreement" between President Robert Mugabe and pro-democracy challenger Morgan Tsvangirai, and "will study the details of the agreement," a statement released Monday, Sept. 15, in Brussels said.

The council will "pay close attention to its implementation, which will imply the immediate end to all forms of intimidation and violence" and will have to "allow to bring the reforms the people of Zimbabwe expect," including democratization, the statement said.

When the council next convenes on Oct. 13, representatives will examine how the situation has developed.

Last Thursday, EU officials meeting in Brussels agreed that the bloc should extend its current range of sanctions against Mugabe's regime following the summer's wave of violence against Tsangvirai's supporters. Ministers had been set to endorse that move on Monday.

But the news that a deal between the country's rival factions had been reached late on Thursday night led EU officials to put that decision on ice until the details of the agreement were announced.

"All discussion on sanctions, more or less, is on hold until we see the details of the deal and until we see the deal translated into action on the ground," British Foreign Minister David Miliband said.

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