HARARE, Jan. 24 — The European Union (EU) has pledged support to the new Zimbabwe government and expressed willingness to observe Zimbabwe’s forthcoming elections set for mid-2018.
However, the regional grouping, which still maintains an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and travel restrictions on former president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, stressed that the polls must be “peaceful, inclusive, credible and transparent.” The EU has not observed Zimbabwe’s elections since 2002, when it was banned by Mugabe’s government after it imposed sanctions on the country.
“The EU welcomes the commitment of the authorities to hold elections in line with the constitution, and underlines the importance that the conditions are in place to allow those elections to be peaceful, inclusive, credible and transparent. “The EU would consider favorably electoral observation, provided that the required conditions are fulfilled and that an invitation from the Government of Zimbabwe is received,” the EU said in a statement on Monday, after the end of its Council meeting in Brussels.
The EU added that the ongoing political transition in Zimbabwe creates high expectations among all Zimbabweans and opens the way to a full return to the rule of law within a constitutional framework and under civilian rule.
“The EU stands ready to review the whole range of its policies towards Zimbabwe at any moment to take into account the progress achieved in the country,” the EU said. Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, took over from Mugabe, who resigned in November last year. Mnangagwa has voiced his government’s commitment to re-engage and normalize relations with the EU and other Western nations that have been hostile to the country.
The president is currently attending the 48th World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland, vowing to attract investors and mend relations with the world after years of international isolation. The EU reiterated its commitment to engaging constructively with the new Zimbabwe government, other political actors across the spectrum and with civil society. It also welcomed the stated intention of the Zimbabwean authorities to deliver economic reforms aimed at supporting job creation, growth and sustainable long-term development.
It also reaffirmed its willingness to support the planning and implementation of much-needed structural changes and the promotion of good governance.”In this context, the EU will support the authorities in establishing as soon as possible a constructive re-engagement with international financial institutions based on a clear and time-bound economic and political reform program,” the EU said. – XINHUA