Hague fears over Zimbabwe violence

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Foreign Secretary William Hague has expressed concern over the violence in Zimbabwe

Foreign Secretary William Hague has expressed deep concern over political violence in Zimbabwe, following the European Union’s decision to extend sanctions on the African nation for another year.

The EU has renewed Restrictive and Appropriate Measures on Zimbabwe for a further 12 months – but has removed 35 people from a list of those subject to an EU visa ban and asset freeze.

In a written statement to MPs, Mr Hague said: “Although this amendment reflects the progress made by the government of Zimbabwe on economic issues and in delivering public services, it also reflects our strong concern that this has not been matched by equivalent political and democratic reform.

“Essential reforms to promote the rule of law, human rights and democracy, as agreed under the Global Political Agreement, have not yet been implemented.

“We are particularly concerned at the upsurge in political violence and intimidation in recent weeks.”

The restrictions that have been renewed involve travel constraints and asset freezes for 163 people and 31 businesses. The arms embargo remains in place and UK development aid will be channelled directly to the people of Zimbabwe through the UN rather than through the government.

The EU’s Restrictive Measures are targeted at those who “corruptly appropriate the country’s wealth for their own personal benefit”, Mr Hague said.

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