Zimbabwe's ruling party rubbishes renewal of EU sanctions on Mugabe

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Zimbabwe's ruling party has dismissed as meaningless and a joke, the renewal of decade-long European Union (EU) sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his wife.

The EU announced that it had renewed for another year its sanctions against Zimbabwe, including a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and his wife Grace.

But Mugabe's Zanu-PF party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo told Xinhua that Zimbabwe was not going to be disturbed by the renewal of the sanctions, first imposed in 2002 over political differences with Harare.

"We have said it on several occasions that the illegal sanctions must go in toto. We are not going to be disturbed by statements by the EU. We are too busy running our country and we don't have time for people who seen to be enjoying jokes," he said.

While the EU has kept sanctions on Mugabe, it has allowed the veteran president who turns 91 on Saturday, to visit Europe only in his capacity as the African Union (AU) chair.

Mugabe assumed the rotational one-year AU chairmanship last month.

The EU has been gradually easing its sanctions on Zimbabwe over the years, and last November scrapped economic sanctions against the country to pave way for resumption of direct cooperation between the two sides.

This week, the EU signed a deal to provide Zimbabwe with 270 million U.S. dollars over the next five years to support its health, agriculture and governance sectors.

While welcoming the EU gesture, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa complained that Zimbabwe-EU ties would remain poisoned and unproductive for as long as Mugabe and his wife remained on sanctions. Endi

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