Australia rolls back Zim sanctions
11 March 2013, 15:31
Sydney - Australia said on Monday it would lift sanctions on
55 prominent Zimbabweans in response to the announcement of a referendum on a
new constitution ahead of July elections.
Foreign minister Bob Carr said the group included members of
the judiciary and media, provincial governors and leading business figures as
well as a number of politicians from Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
"These individuals are not considered to be hindering
democratic reforms or undermining the ultimate goal of free and fair elections
in Zimbabwe, nor are they thought to be involved in human rights abuses,"
"I'm pleased to be able to lift these sanctions and
look forward to further democratic reforms in Zimbabwe."
It follows similar steps last month by the European Union
and forms part of a phased roll-back of sanctions by Australia which will be
extended once the referendum, due on 16 March, is held in a "peaceful and
Once a free and fair election is held and a
democratically-elected government replaces the shaky coalition between veteran
leader Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Carr said additional steps
would be taken.
Any regressive developments, including derailing of the
election process or a return to violence, would see sanctions ramped back up.
There are 98 individuals and four entities still facing
travel and financial bans from Australia, as well as a general arms embargo and
prohibition on military links.
Mugabe's Zanu-PF denounced the lifting of EU sanctions as a
"self-serving initiative meant to advance the economic interests of