Australia Says May Impose Sanctions On Zimbabwe

Harare- Zimbabwe (PANA) -- Australia is considering imposing unilateral sanctions on Zimbabwe over alleged human rights abuses after the collapse of Commonwealth moves to censure the southern African country, a local has reported.
The Financial Gazette quoted Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer as saying his government would come up with a range of targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe, as proposed by the European Union.
"We like what the European Union has been proposing and we are in the process now of considering a range of options in relation to Zimbabwe ourselves.
"We are now going to have a look at a series of options for targeted sanctions.
We don't believe that economic sanctions would be appropriate.
"The Zimbabwean economy has taken a tremendous hit over the last couple of years and I just don't think the international community should be exacerbating that terrible economic situation.
"But, on the other hand, we will look at a series of measures in areas such as the nature of our development assistance programme and how that is working," he added.
Zimbabwe denies Western accusations that it is cracking down on the opposition and the media ahead of a presidential election next month.
It regards the accusations as a conspiracy to oust President Robert Mugabe from power for taking over idle farms from white farmers, who own the bulk of the country's arable land, to resettle landless blacks.
Zimbabwe has locked horns with Western powers, particularly Britain, over the agrarian reforms which it argues were needed to economically empower blacks.
Western powers say the reforms violated human rights, and have threatened to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe if it refused to back down.
Australia, Britain and Canada unsuccessfully tried two weeks ago to push the Commonwealth to suspend Zimbabwe over the alleged violations of human rights.
The move was thwarted by other members of the group, which is mainly made up of former British colonies.

08 february 2002 16:38:00

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