Foreign Secretary William Hague has updated Parliament after the EU agreed to renew the Measures for another year.
In a written statement to Parliament the Foreign Secretary said:
“The EU has announced its decision to roll over the Zimbabwe Restrictive and Appropriate Measures. Following an in-depth assessment of the current situation on the ground, the UK and its EU partners have unanimously agreed to the renewal of the Measures for a further twelve months, whilst removing 51 people and 20 companies from the list of those subject to an EU visa ban and asset freeze on the grounds that they are no longer involved in or associated with human rights abuses or undermining democracy or the rule of law. These amendments reflect the positive progress made by the Inclusive Government and SADC facilitation process in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement and preparing for credible and peaceful elections in Zimbabwe.
Whilst our assessment is that there have been demonstrable improvements in the overall situation in Zimbabwe, there remains a pressing need for further progress. The implementation of political reforms remain slow. Politically-motivated looting, violence and intimidation continue, albeit on a lesser scale than in previous years. Further political and democratic reform is essential to promote the rule of law, human rights and democracy, as agreed under the Global Political Agreement. For these reasons, we have extended the travel restrictions and asset freeze applicable to the remaining 112 people and 11 companies for a further 12 months. The listing of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) will be reviewed in six months. The arms embargo remains in place.
The restrictions on Appropriate Measures covering EU development assistance have also been renewed for six months. During this period, the EU will engage Zimbabwe in preparations for a Country Strategy Paper in the framework of the European Development Fund. The EU will also invite the Government of Zimbabwe to intensify political dialogue, including through the Zimbabwe Ministerial Re-engagement Team, and to define further steps towards a normalisation of EU-Zimbabwe relations. The Appropriate Measures will be reviewed again at the end of the six months on the basis of progress on the ground in Zimbabwe, including core Cotonou principles of human rights and rule of law. EU and UK bilateral development aid will continue to be channelled directly to the people of Zimbabwe through the UN and Non State Actors, rather than through the Government of Zimbabwe.
The UK and our EU partners emphasise our willingness to revisit the Measures at any time should there be further concrete developments on the ground in Zimbabwe. In this context, we fully support the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and its member states in their effort to facilitate agreement amongst the parties in Zimbabwe on creating an environment conducive to the holding of free and fair elections. To facilitate unfettered dialogue between the EU and Zimbabwe the EU has agreed to suspend the travel bans on the two ZANU-PF members of the Zimbabwean Ministerial Re-engagement Team.
Britain remains a committed friend to the people of Zimbabwe. UK aid to Zimbabwe this financial year (2011-12) will reach £80 million - our largest ever programme. Over the next four years UK aid will provide almost one million more people with clean water, give more than 700,000 women access to family planning, create 125,000 new jobs and help 80,000 children complete primary education. UK aid to Zimbabwe is channelled through UN agencies and NGOs, not the Government of Zimbabwe, and its delivery is independently monitored.