By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
17 February 2014
UK based pressure group the Zimbabwe Vigil has written a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, urging him to boycott April’s EU/AU Summit in Brussels.
President Robert Mugabe is to attend the summit from 2nd-3rd April after he received a formal invitation. Since 2002 he has officially been banned from visiting the EU, under their ‘restrictive measures’, because of human rights abuses and corruption. He is not prevented from attending international meetings.
The two-day summit is expected to explore ways of ‘strengthening political partnership and enhanced co-operation at all levels.’
Dennis Benton, the Vigil spokesman, told SW Radio Africa that nothing has changed in Zimbabwe that should allow the EU to change its policy towards Zimbabwe.
‘The ZANU PF gangsters that run the country have not changed any of their policies, what we see now is a country being run into the ground,’ Benton said.
He added: ‘Our advice to the Prime Minister is that Mugabe has not changed his hatred of the West, especially the UK, so why should he go to Brussels to be abused by the ageing man. So as far is Cameron is concerned he should stay home.’
Recently the Reuters news agency reported that the EU will this week lift most of its remaining targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe. The EU’sforeign policy chief Catherine Ashton told lawmakers at the European Parliament that they were probably now in the right place remove targeted sanctions, on the basis that ‘if things go badly we can move back again.’
The EU imposed the restrictive measures on Zimbabwe in 2002, in response to a government crackdown on the opposition and the violent land reform program. These have gradually been lifted in recent years, following political improvements, but measures have remained in place against key individuals in Mugabe’s inner circle.