‘European Union (EU) More Concerned With Zim’s Deteriorating Economy Than Political Hurdles’-Germany’s Ambassador To Zim

GERMANY’S ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ullrich Klockner, has said the European Union (EU) is more concerned with the country’s deteriorating economy than the political hurdles stalling re-engagement with Harare.

Ambassador Klockner told NewZimbabwe.com Thursday that the re-engagement drive remained a “bumpy” ride.

“It is a long way forward; it is a bumpy road. We are not sure that it will be successful,” he said.

The EU imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2002 over allegations of election fraud by the Harare regime and human rights abuses.

President Robert Mugabe denies the charges, claiming he was being punished for forcing out just over 4,500 white famers to resettle more 300,000 previously landless blacks.

Relations started to normalise after Mugabe and two MDC formations formed a unity government following the violent 2008 elections.

Since then the EU has resumed financial support for Harare and lifted most of its sanctions.

“We will re-establish our relationship but even more important is that Zimbabwe’s economy should be back on track to offer jobs to the young people here.

“That is our first common goal as European countries,” ambassador Klockner said on the side-lines of a meeting he had with local youth empowerment lobby NGO, Youth Forum.

Fixing economy more important

Despite the EU lifting most of its sanctions including those against President Mugabe’s inner circle, Harare remains miffed that the veteran leader and his wife, Grace, remain banned from travelling to Europe.

Mugabe however, still visits Western capitals for international meetings to the United Nations and its agencies.

He is expected to leave Harare for the UN climate talks which begins next Monday in Paris, France.

The EU is also insisting that Harare improve its human rights record and implements reforms to make elections more credible.

The main opposition parties have since ruled out participating in elections, accusing Mugabe and Zanu PF of cheating.

Ambassador Klockner said however, said there were still some promising signs in the re-engagement process with Harare.

“There are some promising signs and some disappointments,” said.

“At the moment we are quite optimistic because there have been some reform spirit within the government; things on the agenda that we could not discuss about a couple of years ago and I think that makes me confident,” he said. source-newzimbabwe

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