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EU extends Zimbabwe sanctions

Mugabe: Sanctions were imposed in a row over election observers  

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Sanctions against Zimbabwe's elite have been extended by the European Union.

Fifty-two more people were added to the 19 senior government and military officials already on a blacklist which prevents them from travelling to EU nations and freezes their assets.

The sanctions were first imposed after a row with President Robert Mugabe over the role of EU observers in this year's presidential elections.

Mugabe was already on the sanctions hit list. The 52 added on Tuesday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers include all remaining Cabinet ministers, politburo secretaries and deputy ministers, an EU statement said.

"This is the hard core of the regime," said Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw added: "This decision underlines that the world is not going to ignore the callous behaviour of the Mugabe regime."

Zimbabwe at the polls 

The so-called "smart sanctions" are intended to hit leading members of the government while allowing ordinary Zimbabweans to be unaffected.

They were imposed ahead of Zimbabwe's presidential election after a row over the role of EU election observers. (Full story)

Mugabe went on to win the vote despite widespread allegations of vote-rigging, although some African nations said that while there were flaws the result should stand.

After the poll Zimbabwe was also suspended for 12 months from the Commonwealth on the strength of a report compiled by observers from South Africa, Nigeria and Australia. (Full story)

Before the meeting Straw said: "Over the past year there has been an increasing discontent by neighbouring countries against the Mugabe government. A year ago that wasn't there.

"Let's remember it was Commonwealth election observers led by some of the main African countries who themselves blew the whistle on Mr Mugabe's election malpractices."

Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial master, has led the push within the 15-nation EU to impose the targeted sanctions.


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