President Robert Mugabe is still not free to travel to Europe even on African Union business, Britain’s Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Baroness Anelay of St Johns told the House of Lords yesterday.
Media reports had said that Mugabe, who is still on the European Union sanctions list together with his wife Grace and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, was free to travel to Europe on African Union business as he is the current chairman of the continental organisation.
Baroness Anelay said this was not true.
“Contrary to media reporting, the EU did not agree a relaxation to President Mugabe’s travel ban during his term as African Union Chair,” she said. “Exemptions to the travel ban can only be granted in exceptional circumstances and require the agreement of all EU Member States.”
Q & A:
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead (Labour) 25th March 2015- To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the European Union policy decision on resuming bilateral aid to Zimbabwe and allowing President Mugabe to travel to European Union member states on African Union business; and what position they have taken on that issue.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Conservative) 25th March 2015- EU Member States agreed in February to renew, for a further year, the Arms Embargo and active travel ban and asset freeze against President Mugabe, the First Lady, and Zimbabwe Defence Industries. Contrary to media reporting, the EU did not agree a relaxation to President Mugabe’s travel ban during his term as African Union Chair. Exemptions to the travel ban can only be granted in exceptional circumstances and require the agreement of all EU Member States. EU Member States reviewed the governance and human rights situation in Zimbabwe in October 2014. Member States agreed that there had not been a ‘serious deterioration’, which was the agreed condition for renewing the EU Appropriate Measures. The Appropriate Measures therefore expired in November 2014. This enabled the EU to plan a strategic aid programme in Zimbabwe for 2014-20, delivering support directly to agencies on the ground. The EU had an aid programme in Zimbabwe before the Appropriate Measures lapsed but this could only be planned on an annual rather than multi-annual basis. The programme covering the 2014-2020 period will help deliver the reforms necessary for Zimbabwe to become a more democratic and prosperous country, which the UK supports.