Latest News Editor's Choice


News / National

Call to extend Zimbabwe sanctions

by Telegraph I Aislinn Laing and Peta Thorneycroft
16 Jul 2012 at 04:48hrs | Views
Parliament will this week hear calls to extend sanctions on Zimbabwe as Britain and the European Union are poised to suspend a variety of punitive measures in a bid to encourage reform.

Peter Hain will claim that Robert Mugabe and associates are planning further election violence to keep the rival Movement for Democratic Change from power, using money siphoned from the country's "blood diamonds".

The former cabinet minister will highlight a report by Global Witness which claims that Sam Pa, a Chinese businessman, has provided funding and equipment to Zimbabwe's secret police in return for access to diamond deposits.

A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said "there was no question" of lifting sanctions on Mr Mugabe, 88, or anyone involved in continued human rights abuses. Western diplomats have said that conditions could be lifted on the president if certain conditions are met.

He said that while the body was "reflecting" on its policy towards Zimbabwe, following a call for sanctions to be lifted by the UN Human Rights Chief, regional mediator President Jacob Zuma and Mr Tsvangirai, the president of Zimbabwe would not be among those given a reprieve.

"There is no question of lifting sanctions (an asset freeze and travel ban) against Mugabe or anyone involved in continued abuses of human rights, incitement to violence, etc - that is simply not up for discussion," said Michael Mann.

At Tuesday's debate Mr Hain will claim that Mr Mugabe and his associates are planning further election violence to keep the rival Movement for Democratic Change from power, using money siphoned from the country's "blood diamonds".

Mr Hain will highlight a report by Global Witness which claims that Sam Pa, a Chinese businessman, has provided funding and equipment to Zimbabwe's secret police in return for access to diamond deposits in eastern Marange.

Other firms with concessions in Marange are said to have on their boards senior members of the armed forces, the group has claimed.

European officials told the Telegraph last week that Britain and the EU were preparing to lift sanctions on 112 targeted individuals including Robert Mugabe in an effort to persuade him to hold free and fair elections next year, as long as certain conditions were met.

But Mr Hain, a former Minister for Africa, will push for the sanctions not only to remain but to be extended to those allegedly involved in the country's secretive diamonds trade.

"More than enough damage has been done already to the wonderful people of Zimbabwe, as a once-prosperous country has been reduced to penury," Mr Hain will say.

"Let us ensure we do not perpetuate that terrible damage by premature suspensions of these highly targeted sanctions, especially on those responsible for the Marange blood diamonds, when the imperative is to impose more not less."

In report last month entitled Funding a Parallel Government? Global Witness alleged that a Chinese businessman named Sam Pa was awarded a diamond concession after donating up to $100m and 200 military trucks to Zimbabwe's feared Central Intelligence Organisation.

Sino Zimbabwe Development, a joint venture between the state-owned Zimbabwe Minerals Development Corporation and Mr Pa, was also said to have on its board three officials from the CIO which, Global Witness claimed, may be planning a military campaign aimed at stopping Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC from taking power.

The same group also claims that Anjin Investments, another joint diamond venture between Chinese and Zimbabwean companies, was being run by senior defence officials.

Source - Telegraph

Get latest news by email: