No early end to Zimbabwe sanctions: UK


Britain said it wanted to see more progress on human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe before the European Union lifts sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his allies.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown defended sanctions on Zimbabwe after talks with South African President Jacob Zuma who has called for them to be lifted.

Zuma played down a controversy caused by comments he made before he left for a state visit to Britain in which he said the British believed they were superior, and said there was no talk in the South African government about mines nationalisation.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, regularly accuses the British and their Western allies of ruining the Zimbabwean economy through sanctions.
“The sanctions that the European Union has in place do not target Zimbabwe or Zimbabweans, they target individuals who are responsible for violence and a number of businesses linked to them,” Brown said at a news conference with Zuma.
“We have reduced sanctions on some companies, we are ready to respond to other progress as it is made but I do emphasise the importance of the work of these (Zimbabwe) commissions in emphasising human rights, the freedom of the press and the reforms of governance,” he added.

Mugabe and his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a unity government last year and have agreed on commissions to drive media, electoral and human rights reforms.

Finding a solution

About three million Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa, which has been trying to broker a solution to the crisis.
“We are agreed that we should all put our heads together to find a solution in Zimbabwe so that Zimbabwe could move forward,” Zuma said, adding there was a risk some Zimbabweans could blame sanctions for stalling progress.

Brown and Zuma said in a joint statement that more needed to be done to guarantee strong growth after the G20 helped to prop up the global financial system.

Zuma agreed to host an “education summit” around the time of this year’s World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa to drive forward an $8 billion plan to educate 73 million children worldwide who are not in school, a British government source said.

In a speech to members of parliament later, Zuma said there was no discussion within the South African government about nationalisation of mines and that South African law did not provide for the nationalisation of mineral resources.

He was seeking to calm investors nervous over a call by the leader of the ruling ANC’s militant Youth League for the nationalisation of mines. South Africa is the world’s biggest platinum producer and the worlds number three gold producer.

The British media have focused on Zuma’s polygamy and sex life during his four-day visit to Britain as a guest of Queen Elizabeth. Zuma is with Tobeka Madiba, his third current wife.

Zuma apologised this month for fathering out of wedlock his 20th child with Sonono Khoza, the daughter of a close friend.

In a South African press interview before his departure, Zuma said he was not surprised by the British media’s criticism of his polygamy because Britons had always believed that Africans were “barbaric” and inferior.
“I don’t know why they are continuing thinking that their culture is more superior than others…,” he was quoted as saying.

Zuma said yesterday he was speaking “in the context of how people judge other people’s cultures” and he was “not necessarily trying to condemn the British or whatever.”