British envoy denies own country ever imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe

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By Audience Mutema

OUTGOING British ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing has dismissed claims her country ever imposed any sanctions on Zimbabwe, saying the diplomatic measures were in fact taken by the European Union as a bloc.

She was speaking to journalists Thursday while bidding farewell to Acting President Kembo Mohadi at Munhumutapa Building in Harare.

“There are no British sanctions on Zimbabwe,” she said.

“There are some remaining restrictive measures of the European Union.”

Laing said the sanctions were usually reviewed every February but could still be reviewed anytime if there were “significant changes” in Zimbabwe.

The EU 2002 slapped the then Robert Mugabe led administration with the controversial measures citing the breakdown of the rule of law and rampant rights abuses by the Zanu PF led government.

The targeted sanctions saw a freeze on personal assets belonging to Mugabe and senior members of government and other high-ranking officials.

They also involved the prevention of the same Zimbabwean officials to travel to EU member States coupled with the embargo on the sale of arms.

However, Laing denied her country ever took any unilateral decision to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

“The British government is implementing United Nations or European Union sanctions regimes focussing on human rights violations in relation to the following countries: Belarus, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Libya, Mali, South Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe,” said UK minister of state Alan Duncum in British parliament when he was asked by Ben Lake in February.