PM welcomes lifting of Zim sanctions

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai welcomed the EU’s decision to lift most sanctions.

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday welcomed the European Union (EU)'s decision to lift most sanctions against his country.

But the decision is on condition the country has a credible referendum vote on a new constitution.

Under 2002 sanctions, more than 110 high-ranking Zimbabwean politicians were slapped with travel bans and had their European assets frozen.

If a successful referendum is held, most of the decade-old sanctions will be lifted.

Meanwhile, direct aid to Zimbabwe will resume after a 10 year suspension.

The decision was announced after EU foreign ministers met in Brussels on Monday.

Officials described the situation as being filled with "constructive dialogue" and "political progress".

Zimbabwe's draft constitution was unveiled last week and a popular vote on the text will probably only happen at the end of 2012.

This will establish the foundations for fresh elections in 2013, a condition that has to be satisfied under a power-sharing agreement.

However, EU diplomats said sanctions will remain against 88-year-old Mugabe.