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Zimbabwe: Lift Ban On Mugabe, We Re-Engage, Govt Tells EU

Zimbabwe is ready to re-engage with the European Union (EU) if Brussels removes sanctions on President Robert Mugabe, according to Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Edgar Mbwembwe.

President Mugabe and his wife Grace are the only two individuals left on the western bloc's sanctions list following the removal of the embargo by EU on more than 200 Zanu PF officials since the tenure of the Unity Government five years ago.

The EU has been lifting the embargo which it slapped Harare with, in 2002, in stages citing an improvement in the human rights situation.

The western bloc, however, insists that Mugabe, as the chief executive of Zimbabwe, should ensure the citizens' full protection by his administration as guaranteed by the country's constitution, if they are to lift sanctions on the aged leader.

But Mugabe argues that the sanctions are illegal adding that they should not have been imposed on his administration in the first place.

Addressing foreign diplomats celebrating the EU day Friday, Mbwembwe said government is ready to re-engage with Brussels provided the western bloc removes Mugabe from the sanctions list.

"Zimbabwe looks forward and is committed to normalisation of its relations with the European Union and the removal of sanctions against our country is a necessary step in that process," he said.

During the unity government era, Harare had established an inter-ministerial task force which was responsible for the EU-Zimbabwe re-engagement discourse.

The task force died after the end of Mugabe and the MDC formations' five year turbulent political pact on 31 July 2013.

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