The European Union (EU) has simultaneously applauded Zimbabwe’s re-engagement efforts and has condemned the continued arrests of human rights activists.
Speaking during a joint press briefing between the EU and the government after the launch of formal political dialogue under the African-Caribbean-Pacific regions (ACP)-EU Partnership Agreement (Cotonou Agreement), EU head of delegation to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen said:
We think the government is serious with the reform agenda and we see the positive steps it is taking in terms of constitutional alignment. New legal proposals are coming up, all testament of a government moving forward.
But there are incidents like the recent arrests that have been happening on NGO and trade union activists. These are issues that we have discussed in a frank, open and constructive atmosphere in this meeting.
The diplomat said that the August 1 shootings and January violence were a “setback” in mending the relations between the two parties. Zimbabwe-EU relations started getting sour in 2000 when the commission accused Zimbabwe of severe human rights violations. Resultantly, the European Union in 2002 imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.