HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc95-6W
Mr. Ancram

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at which EU General Affairs Council meetings in the last six months he has called for the toughening of EU sanctions against the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe; and what specific measures he called for. [155437]

Mr. Straw

We have been consistent advocates of tough EU sanctions against Mugabe. The present measures consist of an arms embargo on Zimbabwe, and an assets freeze and travel ban on leading members of the regime. I have raised the matter with relevant EU Foreign Minister colleagues on a number of occasions and so have officials on my behalf with their counterparts. The result is that with our strong support, these measures were extended on 19 February for a further year.

We also sought and secured an increase in the number of senior ZANU-PF figures subject to the travel ban and assets freeze, from 79 to 95. This includes several additional individuals who bear particular responsibility for the abuses of human rights in Zimbabwe.

The 23 February General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), which I attended, issued a strong statement deploring the failure of the government of Zimbabwe to address the EU's concerns over the deteriorating situation in the country. The GAERC also made clear the EU's intent to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Zimbabwe, on the basis of need.