EU to toughen Zimbabwe sanctions next week
The European Union will toughen sanctions against Zimbabwe next week, hitting businessmen backing President Robert Mugabe's regime for the first time, EU diplomats said yesterday.
"An in-principle agreement" on the moved was reached overnight between EU ambassadors, the diplomats confirmed, with the new sanctions to be endorsed at a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.
The EU currently targets more than 130 individuals with visa bans and an asset freeze.
The idea now, one diplomat said, would be to add "around 40 people" to that list, some "from the security apparatus" of the regime identified as being involved in the election crackdown and business figures helping prop it up.
As many as five companies could also be hit, the diplomats said.
It would be the first time that business people and companies in Zimbabwe had been targetted by EU visa bans and an asset freeze.
Britain said last week it was seeking tougher EU sanctions after a bid to pass United Nations sanctions against Zimbabwe's leadership was vetoed by Security Council members Russia and China.
Mugabe was re-elected in a run-off last month after his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out, citing a campaign of intimidation and violence against his supporters that had killed dozens and injured thousands.