Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai under pressure for Miliband statement

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Zimbabwe’s former ruler, Britain has vowed not to buckle to pressure
from President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF to lift what is termed illegal sanctions.

It says Zimbabwe should fully implement the terms of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the coalition government.

The non lifting of sanctions was buttressed during a rare visit to Harare of eight British parliamentarians this week.

Malcolm Bruce, chairman of the House of Commons International Development Committee said the British government has “made it clear that the key to having (sanctions) lifted is for those blocking progress in Zimbabwe to implement the commitments they signed up to.”

Two weeks ago British Foreign Secretary David Miliband revealed that the MDC party of Morgan Tsvangirai controls some of the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Britain, the US and their allies in the West.

Miliband’s statement last month to the effect that London would look to Tsvangirai for guidance on whether the sanctions should be lifted has caused tension in the inclusive Government and stalled power-sharing talks.

Top EU officials are expected to meet on February 20 to decide whether to extend the sanctions.

Bruce said he and seven other British members of Parliament are in Zimbabwe for four days to assess the “effectiveness of humanitarian aid”. He also added that there was no significance in the timing of the visit, which takes place just before the European Union decides whether to renew its restrictive measures.

The premier Tsvangirai is under extreme pressure from Zanu-PF to call on his allies in the West to lift sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

On Wednesday, parliament was forced to adjourn shortly after it resumed seating after a motion calling for the removal of illegal sanctions imposed be lifted.

The motion called on PM Tsvangirai “to urgently and unconditionally remove the illegal sanctions imposed, at their instigation on the Government and people of Zimbabwe as confessed in the British parliament by the Foreign Affairs Secretary Mr David Miliband”.

Legislators from Tsvangirai’s MDC party rose in protest, banged on benches, booed and jeered after a legislator from Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party moved to introduce the motion calling Tsvangirai and his party to campaign for the lifting of the visa and financial sanctions.

Not to be outdone, Zanu-PF MPs shouted back at their MDC counterparts,
jeering and calling on their coalition partners to accept responsibility for the punitive measures imposed on Mugabe and 200 senior members of his party by the European Union (EU) and the United States (US).

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