Page last updated at 10:52 GMT, Monday, 14 September 2009 11:52 UK

Zimbabwean minister denounces EU

Patrick Chinamasa, file image
Patrick Chinamasa seemed to contradict Mr Mugabe

An ally of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has accused EU officials who visited the country recently of seeking to undermine the unity government.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the EU delegation had sided with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mr Chinamasa said the EU had fallen "line, hook and sinker" for everything Mr Tsvangirai had told them.

The EU refused to lift sanctions on Mr Mugabe and his top aides, citing a lack of progress over human rights.

Long-time rivals Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mugabe signed a power-sharing agreement a year ago, after a disputed election.

But Mr Tsvangirai accuses Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party of continuing to persecute members of his former opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Mugabe's early optimism

After the EU delegation completed two days of talks with both leaders over the weekend, Mr Chinamasa denounced the officials.

"They seem to want to undermine the inclusive government," he was quoted as saying in the state-run Zimbabwe Herald newspaper.

President Robert Mugabe
EU: 2002 to present
Assets freeze and travel ban on some Mugabe allies, arms-sale ban
US: 2003 to present
Trade ban against 250 Zimbabwean individuals and 17 companies
Other countries
Canada, Australia and UK among nations to have imposed their own targeted sanctions
Sources: EU, Reuters, US treasury, UK Foreign Office

"They speak as much as MDC-T. They just swallow line, hook and sinker what the MDC-T says."

The EU talks were the first in seven years with Mr Mugabe.

The delegation said more needed to be done to stabilise the year-old power-sharing deal, as the leaders disagreed on its terms.

Mr Mugabe had earlier said the talks had gone well and that he had established a "good rapport" with the delegates.

He defended his record in putting together the unity government with Mr Tsvangirai, and again called for international sanctions to be lifted.

He blames sanctions imposed after a disputed presidential election in 2002 for ruining the country's economy.

The EU says the measures - which ban Mr Mugabe and several of his aides from travelling to the EU, and ban the sale of weapons to Zimbabwe - are aimed at ending repression and abuses in the country.

The US and other countries also have targeted sanctions against Zanu-PF officials.

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