EU to resume aid in November, minister

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THE European Union (EU) will probably resume development aid to Zimbabwe that had been suspended for more than a decade, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said this week, in the latest step towards the country stabilising relations with donors.
Speaking in Washington on Monday, Chinamasa said, the EU would probably lift an aid freeze on November 1 under the Cotonou Agreement, which covers co-operation between Europe and African nations.
The EU withheld assistance channelled directly to Harare in 2002 over concerns the government was undermining democracy and the rule of law.
“With respect to the EU, we have some promise that Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement sanctions will lapse on November 1,” Chinamasa said.
That would pave the way for Zimbabwe to “negotiate European Development Fund funding from the EU. Time will tell whether that promise will be fulfilled.”
The EU has been gradually removing sanctions it imposed on allies of President Robert Mugabe to support the nation’s political reforms, including enacting a new constitution.
An arms embargo remains in place and Mugabe, his wife and the Zimbabwe defence industry remain under sanctions.
The EU said this year it was encouraged by advances in Zimbabwe, even as challenges remained.
An election last year that extended Mugabe’s mandate by five years was marred by a lack of transparency, it said. The 28-member bloc has earmarked US$295 million for development aid to Zimbabwe over six years.
The EU might lift the restrictions “provided there is no serious deterioration in the governance and human rights situation”, in line with a decision taken in a February review, Giles Enticknap, the acting head of the EU’s delegation in Zimbabwe, said yesterday.
“The EU’s goal is to support the people in achieving a more prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe, as a foundation for the future full normalisation of relations.Advertisement