SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma told European parliamentarians on Wednesday that lifting sanctions against Zimbabwe would help the country work through its political problems.
On his first trip to the Parliament, Zuma told its foreign affairs committee that such a move would help efforts to turn around the situation in Zimbabwe which is emerging from a chapter of political violence and hyper-inflation.
"On Zimbabwe, we gave leadership before anybody else did and the current power-sharing deal was facilitated by South Africa," Zuma said to the MEPs.
Lifting sanctions "would give a chance to the efforts we are making there and empower the Southern African Development Community to do more on Zimbabwe," he added.
On Tuesday, European Union president Herman Van Rompuy said the bloc was ready to take a fresh look at the measures against Zimbabwe.
Van Rompuy noted Zimbabwean moves to create a new Constitution as part of a road map to elections, a process launched by the unity government formed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last February.
"In case of positive developments in Zimbabwe we'd be ready to look at fresh measures," said Van Rompuy.
Mugabe, 86, and his aides are subject to travel bans and asset freezes in the European Union and the United States, who accuse his regime of repeated human rights abuses and denials of basic freedoms.
The EU last year slapped a 12-month extension on its sanctions against Harare, which include an embargo on arms and police weaponry, as well as the travel ban and asset freezes on Mugabe and his inner circle. - Sapa