James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Mon Jul 3 06:41:29 MDT 2006


Herald Reporter
EU Admits Sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe over Land
June 28, 2006

THE European Union has for the first time admitted that it imposed 
sanctions on Zimbabwe not because of alleged human rights violations 
but because of the bilateral land dispute between the Southern African 
country and Britain.

This was revealed by the Alliance for Liberal and Democrats (ALDE) 
Group of the European Parliament during the just-ended 
African-Caribbean-Pacific-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Vienna, 

Zimbabwe was represented by Masvingo South legislator Cde Walter 
Mzembi (Zanu-PF), who was head of the delegation.

Other members were Chirumanzu-Kwekwe-Silobela Senator Cde Clarissa 
Muchengeti (Zanu-PF) and Kuwadzana MP Mr Nelson Chamisa (MDC).

During the plenary session the ALDE Group which was represented by Mr 
Johan Van Hecke, a Netherlands legislator, posed an oral question to 
the European Council of Ministers on why China was investing in 
Zimbabwe in view of the sanctions imposed by the West over the land 

Mr Van Hecke said China had set its eyes on African raw materials for 
its rapidly expanding economy, adding that one-third of the Asian 
country' s oil supplies come from Africa.

He said the Chinese were not only interested in oil and raw materials, 
as they were actively involved in various sectors of the economy that 
included telecommunications, public works and timber industry.

"In 2002, they began to invest in Zimbabwe after the West imposed 
sanctions following President Mugabe' s controversial land reform. 
Four years later, they are firmly established in various sectors of 
the Zimbabwean economy.

"What view does the Council take of the way China has cornered part of 
the African market, employing a moral code very different from that 
adhered by the EU? Does the Council plan to take measures to combat 
this development, and if so, what measures and when?" asked Mr Van 

Cde Mzembi said before the EU Council of Ministers responded to the 
question he sought for a private meeting with the ALDE group in which 
he congratulated them for revealing that the sanctions had been 
imposed on Zimbabwe not because of alleged human rights violations but 
because of the land issue.

"It then dawned on the group that they had shot themselves in the foot 
and when the time came for the Council to respond to the question they 
(ALDE Group) chickened out of the plenary session," he said.

Zimbabwe was then denied the chance to respond to the question since 
procedurally a response to a question can only be given in the 
presence of those who would have asked such a question.

Questions on the EU side were being addressed to Mr Louis Michel, 
member of the European Commission for Development and Humanitarian, Mr 
Peter Mandelson, a member of the EC responsible for External Trade and 
President of the European Parliament Mr Joseph Borrell Fontelles.

On the ACP side, questions were being addressed to the President in 
Office of the ACP Council of Ministers Mr Onofre Rojas, who is also 
the Secretary of State of the Dominican Republic.

Cde Mzembi said after Zimbabwe was refused the right to respond to the 
question posed by the ALDE group, it then circulated a communique to 
the 150 members of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on the 
country' s response.

In the response, Cde Mzembi pointed out that the EU had over the years 
claimed that sanctions had been imposed following the Government' s 
disregard for democratic principles and the rule of law.

"From the beginning, the Government of Zimbabwe has unequivocally 
stated that the EU was accusing it of such transgressions simply as a 
cover to punish it for the redistribution of land from the white 
minority to the majority black population.

"There were no violations of human rights, the democratic principles 
and the rule of law. Zimbabwe is grateful that Mr Van Hecke and the 
ALDE Group have finally and publicly acknowledged that the real reason 
for sanctions had nothing to do with morality," he said.

"They have reaffirmed the Government of Zimbabwe's position that the 
sole reason for sanctions was the protection of the interests of the 
kith and kin, a minority 4 500 white commercial farmers, at the 
expense of 13 million Zimbabweans."

On the issue of China investing in Zimbabwe, Cde Mzembi said the Asian 
country was competing with the West for abundant natural resources in 

The rules of engagement in global trade, he said, were premised on 
competing national interests, adding that the West should brace up for 
such competition.

Cde Mzembi pointed out that relations between Zimbabwe and China dated 
back to the liberation struggle with the latter having supported the 
former' s struggle for democracy, self-determination and restoration 
of dignity.

The lawmaker said notwithstanding the sanctions, Britain remained the 
biggest investor in Zimbabwe, particularly in the mining and 
manufacturing sectors.

British companies were also consolidating their presence in the 

Zimbabwe, Cde Mzembi said, remained committed to engaging other 
members of the international community on the basis of mutual respect 
and sovereign equality.

J. Daly
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