Friday, February 26, 2010

(HERALD) Zuma takes sanctions war to London

Zuma takes sanctions war to London
Herald Reporter

South African President Jacob Zuma has said he will take on Britain over the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe because the embargo is "suffocating" the inclusive Government. President Zuma is expected in the United Kingdom for a state visit next week.

In an interview with the Financial Times in Pretoria on Wednesday, President Zuma questioned the motive of the illegal sanctions, saying they had not achieved anything for Zimbabweans.

"What have sanctions done to help the situation? Zanu-PF says (it is) in a Cabinet of this unity government. But part of the Cabinet can go anywhere in the world for their work and part (the Zanu-PF members) can’t go out of the country. This unity government is being suffocated. It is not being allowed to do its job by the big countries," he said.

President Zuma accused partners in the inclusive Government, formed in February last year after the Global Political Agree-ment between Zanu-PF and the MDC formations, of using the sanctions against each other ahead of a possible election.

Under the agreement, parties to the GPA agreed to hold elections after the crafting of a new constitution for Zimbabwe.

"Suppose somebody in Zimbabwe is using these issues to maintain tension until elections. You are playing into the hands of such a person," Mr Zuma said.

The Sadc-appointed facilitator challenged Western nations to prove what the illegal sanctions had achieved in Zimbabwe.

He said Zimbabwe was at risk before South Africa moved in to assist.

"South Africa has been one of the major players that actually pulled Zimbabwe back from getting into a disaster."

President Zuma said Europe and the United States had, in contrast, continued with sanctions as if no agreement had been made.

"If we were in the shoes of the big countries, I would have said ‘here is an agreement, we are in support of this agreement and lifting sanctions, even conditionally, even for six months to a year, give a chance for this agreement’ (to work)," he said.

The South African president last week blasted the extension of the illegal sanctions at a time when the inclusive Government was celebrating its first anniversary.

The European Union and the United States, at the behest of Britain, slapped Zimbabwe with economic sanctions following the implementation of the fast-track land resettlement programme as part of the agrarian reforms.

The EU recently extended the sanctions by another year, citing what it called "lack of progress in the implementation" of the GPA.

However, President Mugabe has urged Zimbabweans to ignore the latest EU move calling for the country to fully utilise its vast natural resources.

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