HARARE, Feb 20 (Bernama) — The European Union (EU) will resume dealing directly with the Zimbabwean government in November this year when a freeze on cooperation which the block imposed expires, Zimbabwean news agency New Ziana reported.
The move signifies the thawing of once frosty relations between Zimbabwe and the 28-member EU, which had been dealing with non-governmental organisations after imposing sanctions on the African country over a decade ago.
Early this week, the EU announced the lifting of sanctions on eight top security and senior defence personnel but maintained the embargo on President Rober Mugabe, First Lady Grace and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.
About 192 people and 87 companies were initially on the sanctions list.
But top EU officials said the freeze on development cooperation would expire at the beginning of November this year.
Director for East and Southern Africa for Development and Cooperation, Francesca Mosca, said this would be the first time in 14 years that relations between the two sides will resume.
“Since 2000, we have not been negotiating with the government a national indicative programme (NIP) on cooperation. In 14 years, this is the first time that this happens, I think this is quite a remarkable step forward,” said Mosca.
The NIP is a bilateral programme negotiated between partner countries and the EU for targeted support in various sectors of the economy.