British Foreign Minister Mark Simmonds yesterday said sanctions on Zimbabwe had been effective and were an important tool in promoting democracy and reform in Zimbabwe.
The reforms included the new constitution agreed last year, and the signing of the global political agreement that brought about the government of national unity.
Simmonds was responding to a question in the House of Commons from Matthew Offord who wanted to know the effectiveness of financial sanctions on members of the government of Zimbabwe.
He said that although some had argued that the sanctions – which he said were more properly known as restrictive measures- had served as anti-western propagandas for the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, he believed that asset freezes had played an important role in promoting democracy and reform.
Britain has so far not disclosed the assets frozen, their value or who owned those assets. The only statement so far was that assets worth £72 000 were frozen.
Simmonds, however, said Britain was still concerned about the democratic environment in Zimbabwe, especially the conduct of the 2013 elections which it said were not free, fair or credible.
He also said the European Union was currently completing the review of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
EU sanctions on Zimbabwe are usually reviewed around 20 February, each year.
Questions and answer:
Matthew Offord (Hendon, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of financial sanctions on members of the Government of Zimbabwe and associated individuals.
Mark Simmonds (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; Boston and Skegness, Conservative): Although some have argued that EU financial sanctions—more properly known as restrictive measures—have served as anti-western propaganda for the ZANU-PF party, we believe that asset freezes, as part of the EU’s targeted measures, have been an important tool in promoting democracy and reform in Zimbabwe. Reforms, such as the new constitution agreed in 2013, under the Government of National Unity and Global Political Agreement, highlight some of the progress made. However, we continue to have concerns over the democratic environment in Zimbabwe, we have consistently made clear our views about the conduct of 2013 elections, which we do not judge to have been free, fair or credible, nor to have met SADC’s own guidelines. The EU is currently completing the review of Zimbabwe’s targeted measures and parliamentary scrutiny has been completed.