EU Was Shocked By January’s Brutal Crackdown On Protesters – EU Envoy

The European Union on Monday said that the Zimbabwean government missed a chance to mend relations with the organisation when it unleashed violence against protestors in August 2018 and again in January 2019.

Speaking at a Misa-Zimbabwe-organised Quill Club discussion in Harare, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen said:

The violations of the past have been difficult for our relationship, human rights violations.

Again the events in August were a setback because during the elections there were a number of flaws and I am not saying they were perfect, but had gone quite easily and the violence was a setback.

Then again the events in January were quite a bit of a shock and the fact that we need to continue discussing and addressing these issues, I will not say, for example, addressing and condemning these issues will be putting the bar very high for Zimbabwe. I think the events will need to be addressed.

The EU official, however, revealed that the Europeans supported national dialogue, but will not prescribe how the negotiations should proceed. Said Olkkonen:

We are very supportive, but again not prescribing. The EU’s role in this dialogue is more of a well-wisher.

It’s not like we will be there telling each party what to do and what to say, no, because it has to be sustainable for it to be successful. Obviously, it has to be a Zimbabwean process.

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