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Europe

EU Set to Renew Zimbabwe Sanctions

EU foreign ministers are poised to extend sanctions against Zimbabwe next month.

EU foreign ministers, due to meet in Brussels on Feb. 23 will approve the renewal of the targeted sanctions on leaders of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party, diplomats have confirmed. The measures, which were put in place in 2002, restrict the travel of 72 government officials and people close to them, in retaliation for human rights abuses in the country. However the extension of sanctions last year was complicated by a French request that the Zimbabwean ruler, Robert Mugabe be allowed to visit Paris for a Franco-African summit. For almost a month Paris refused to renew the sanctions, calling for Mugabe to be granted a waiver. The waiver was eventually granted, but only after causing a significant diplomatic disagreement between France and the UK. "We don't expect any of the hassle that we had last time around", one Commission official said. Confirming that Paris will back the extension of sanctions this time, a spokesman for the French foreign ministry told the EU Observer: "We are in favor of the [Irish] presidency's proposal." The measures are expected to be extended for a period of one year. (EUobserver.com)

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