|Vol.7, No.46, 13.12.01, p5
One week after Robert Mugabe received specialist eye treatment in a Spanish clinic, the European Parliament is expected to seek a ban on further visits to Europe by the Zimbabwean dictator.
MEPs meeting in Strasbourg will vote today (13 December) on a motion urging EU governments to refuse to issue travel visas to leading members of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and to freeze their assets.
The deputies' call comes as a 75-day period of formal consultations between the Union and Zimbabwe continues.
Launched by EU foreign ministers in late October, its aim was to wring assurances from Mugabe that he would not hinder the work of independent monitors overseeing the presidential elections scheduled for the spring.
The clause in the Cotonou Agreement covering EU-Africa relations, under which the process is being undertaken, provides for tougher measures to be imposed if progress is not forthcoming.
Welsh Socialist MEP Glenys Kinnock has expressed dismay at how the 77-year-old leader can afford expensive medical aid abroad, while Fletcher Dunili, treasurer of opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) "is languishing in prison in Harare with severely impaired and rapidly deteriorating eyesight".
She added: "The fact that President Mugabe can obtain medical help from Spain - at a time when the health service in Zimbabwe has collapsed and the incidence of HIV and AIDS has hit staggering proportions - supports the case which we have been making for EU-wide visa restrictions on President Mugabe and his close associates."
A new report from Amnesty International states that MDC followers are facing widespread harassment. Among the cases cited is that of two MDC members who were beaten and kicked almost unconsciousness, with one of them having a Land Rover rolled over his neck.
MEPs are due to vote on 13 December 2001 on a motion urging EU governments to refuse to issue travel visas to leading members of Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and to freeze their assets.
|Countries / Regions