|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.39, 25.10.01, p12|
FOREIGN ministers are set to invoke a little-used human-rights clause against Zimbabwe next week unless Robert Mugabe's government pledges to allow independent monitoring of the 2002 presidential election.
Belgium's EU presidency is seeking a reply from Harare, before Monday's general affairs council in Luxembourg, to a recent request for assurances that the Union will be able to send observers to next year's poll.
If no response is given, the ministers are likely to start formal talks with the Mugabe regime under Article 96 of the Cotonou agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) bloc. This provides for a consultation process, lasting up to 60 days, for a country accused of human-rights violations, which can be followed by sanctions if the problems are not resolved. Activists have urged the EU to freeze overseas bank accounts held by Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party and to impose visa restrictions on his henchmen after reports that he has already reneged on the Abuja accord signed with Commonwealth representatives last month.
Think-tank The International Crisis Group alleges that the Harare authorities have escalated their invasion of white-owned farms since then. It added Mugabe "shows no signs of permitting free and fair presidential elections in 2002".
However, there is reluctance among EU states to impose punitive measures. "The dilemma for ministers is that they want to apply maximum pressure on Harare, without giving Mugabe any excuse to declare a state of emergency," commented one diplomat. "It's a very delicate question."
During a visit to Brussels last week Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change, also called on the EU to put greater pressure on Mugabe.
Foreign ministers are set to invoke a little-used human rights clause against Zimbabwe unless Robert Mugabe's government pledges to allow independent monitoring of the 2002 presidential election.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Countries / Regions||Africa|