Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

EU renews sanctions on Zimbabwe

Morgan Tsvangirai (left) and Robert Mugabe (rigth)
Relations remain fraught between Zimbabwe's two long-time rivals

The European Union has renewed its sanctions against Zimbabwe for another 12 months, saying the unity government had not made enough progress.

Former foes President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai united in a coalition a year ago, but have not agreed on several key reforms.

The EU sanctions target 200 people and 40 firms, linked to Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, over rights abuse allegations.

Some of Mr Mugabe's allies have dismissed the EU's decision.

"We are not worried by their extension," Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told the AFP news agency.

"It's a continuation of the struggle, just like the liberation struggle."

Meanwhile, the country's tourism chief, Karikoga Kaseke, lamented that the extension raised more questions among foreign investors and tourists.

"[EU ministers] say the political situation on the ground has not improved significantly. We say that the political situation has never been bad," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"Because of that, we're saying the sanctions should not be extended."

Continuing intimidation

Last month, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had urged the easing of targeted sanctions, telling the BBC there ought to be a reward for Zimbabwe's progress so far.

But since then there has been deadlock in talks between his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and Zanu-PF aimed at resolving key areas of the power-sharing deal.

In particular, the MDC wants the attorney general and central bank governor to be replaced and has asked regional mediator South Africa to intervene.

The unity government has halted the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy by allowing the use of foreign currency.

But some MDC activists say they are still being intimidated by Mr Mugabe's hard-line supporters.

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