EU to Stay in Zimbabwe Despite Italian Concerns | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 08.07.2008
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EU to Stay in Zimbabwe Despite Italian Concerns

The EU has said it will not pull out of Zimbabwe despite an appeal from Italy to recall all EU ambassadors accredidated to the troubled southern African country.

People stand behind a Zimbabwean flag

The EU continues to send humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe

The head of the EU delegation in Harare Xavier Marchal said the bloc will not consider pulling out of Zimbabwe, although it does not agree with the way President Robert Mugabe was re-elected on June 27. The controversial election was marred by violence, with more than 100 people killed and thousands displaced.

"The coming months will be difficult for Zimbabwe, so I think we need to provide assistance to these people," Marchal said at a press briefing held in the Zimbabwean capital. "The (European) commission delegation should remain here and should be as active as it has been hitherto, if not more."

States over governments

Several European countries have called for renewed sanctions on Zimbabwe. Italy went a step further last week, calling for the pull-out of all EU ambassadors to Zimbabwe, but the appeal went unsupported.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

Mugabe 'won' the one-man election

Marchal said that, while President Mugabe "definitely does not have a clear mandate to govern the country," he did not agree with Italy's view, saying that his office tended to recognize states rather than governments.

The EU representative said that, despite major political differences with Mugabe’s government, Brussels continued to pour aid into the country for the benefit of ordinary Zimbabweans. He said the EU committed 91 million euros ($142 million) last year to help pay for a variety of projects related to health, basic education, food aid and human rights.

EU presses for more sanctions

The bloc is also backing a drive by the US and the UK to push the UN Security Council to impose visa and financial sanctions against Mugabe and his top officials.

Zimbabwean government officials are already on an extended sanctions list from Europe and the US which bars officials within Mugabe’s inner circle and their families from traveling to Europe and the US and from doing business with these countries.

Participants at the G8 summit currently underway in Japan have indicated that they may impose further sanctions on Zimbabwe unless the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) act quickly to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.

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