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Zimbabwe must produce results to continue development

 InDepth News 07 July 2019

Top-ranking leaders of the European Commission have told Zimbabwe that they expect "further concrete progress" and "clear signs of improved political environment", given which the country might receive additional money. (988 Words) - By Jaya Ramachandran

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The 27-nation European Union (EU) has provided the landlocked country in the southern part of the continent of Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, 180 million Euros for health, education, food security and governance.

This money has been made available in recognition of the creation of the Unity Government early 2009 after the EU succeeded in persuading President Roberto Mugabe to sign a power sharing agreement with his arch rival M. Tsvangirai.

The EU has announced its intention to decide a further allocation of 20 million Euros for improving food security, social sector and governance in Zimbabwe.

This was pointed out by the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton, and Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, in a meeting on July 2, 2019 with a high-level ministerial delegation from the Zimbabwean Government .

The meeting took place within the framework of the Political Dialogue, as envisaged in the Cotonou Agreement, which was re-launched in June 2009 as an instrument of what may be called Soft Power in contradistinction to 'hard power', which is the use of coercion.

Catherine Ashton said after the meeting: "The EU appreciates some progress made implementing the Global Political Agreement in Zimbabwe and remains ready to continue the dialogue and to respond flexibly and positively to any clear signals of further concrete progress."

Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs added: "Despite the political issues, the Commission continues to provide direct aid for health, education, food security and governance to the people of Zimbabwe. I want to make clear that the Commission remains committed to provide further assistance based on continued progress and clear signs of improved political environment in Zimbabwe."

According to sources close to the EU Commission, executive arm of the EU, both sides underlined their wish to move the political dialogue forward. "They engaged in open and constructive discussions with the ultimate objective of progressing towards normalising relations between the European Union and Zimbabwe."

It was also agreed to intensify the dialogue in Harare, capital city of Zimbabwe. "The mandated parties in Harare are tasked with defining the indicators, setting the timetable for the achievement of concrete objectives based on their respective roadmaps of commitments, and monitoring the progress," the EU Commission said.

"The EU took note of the progress made so far in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which is a power sharing agreement signed between M. Tsvangirai (MDC T), Mutambara (MDC M) and R. Mugabe (ZANU PF) in November 2008," it added.

The Agreement foresees a number of political and economic reforms and led to the creation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in February 2009.During the discussions in Brussels, particular attention was paid to constitutional and security reforms.

The Delegation from Zimbabwe included Mr Elton Mangoma, Minister of Energy and Power Development, Mr Patrick A. Chinamasa, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs and Ms Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation representing the three political parties of the Zimbabwean Government of National Unity -- MDC-T, ZANU-PF and MDC-M.

'SOFT POWER'

The EU-Zimbabwe political dialogue started in June 2009 with a Ministerial troika meeting in Brussels and continued in September with an EU Troika's visit to Harare. Since then, the dialogue was carried out in Harare. EU's objective is to normalize relations (including lifting of Art. 96 of the Cotonou Agreement and restrictive measures) alongside with tangible progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement.

Since 2002, "appropriate measures" under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement apply to Zimbabwe and prohibit government to government cooperation. Zimbabwe is also subject to EU'sCommon Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) "restrictive measures" mainly consisting of arms embargo, a visa ban and freeze of assets of targeted individuals and entities.

These measures have been put in place in response of violation of human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. Renewal of both measures is done on an annual basis but reassessment is possible at any moment.

In February 2010 the EU adapted and extended for another year the 'appropriate' and 'targeted measures' as progress in the GPA implementation was considered insufficient.

'KIMBERLEY PROCESS'

Meanwhile, the European Union has urged Kimberley Process (KP) participants and Zimbabwe to intensify their efforts to find consensus on further actions to bring mining operations in Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields in compliance with minimum standards. The appeal comes after the meeting June 21-24 did not produce results.

The meeting held in Tel Aviv (Israel) focused in particular on the implementation of KP minimum standards in Marange diamond fields, with the aim to reach a consensus on the way forward. The EU now hopes that participants in the KP -- the international scheme against conflict diamonds -- and Zimbabwe "will intensify their efforts in order to find this consensus, in the spirit of dialogue and cooperation that has always presided over the Kimberley Process".

In a briefing note on June 29, 2019, the EU said it regrets the current impasse which undermines the Kimberley Process, the credibility of governance in Zimbabwe and the reputation of the legitimate international diamond industry.

The EU also calls on Zimbabwe to maintain a firm commitment to the Kimberley Process and to pursue vigorously all necessary actions to bring all mining operations in the Marange fields into full compliance with KP requirements.

The EU also expressed concern that the arrest of NGO representative Farai Maguwu in Zimbabwe following the meeting with the KP Monitor had overshadowed the meeting in Tel Aviv and called for Zimbabwe to confirm its commitment to the role of civil society in the Kimberley Process.

The Kimberley Process grew out of discussions in May 2000 in Kimberley, South Africa, among interested governments, the international diamond industry and civil society, as a unique initiative to combat 'conflict diamonds' -- rough diamonds used to finance devastating conflicts in some of Africa's diamond-producing countries.

 

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Originally published by InDepth News. © www.streetnewsservice.org

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