Harare - Zimbabwe will send government ministers this week to
hold talks with European Union officials over sanctions slapped on
President Robert Mugabe and his circle a decade ago, state media said
"We have confirmed the meeting and the ministers will
leave on Tuesday" for Brussels, foreign affairs secretary Joey Bimha
told the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper.
He said the officials were travelling at the EU's
invitation and would meet with Catherine Ashton, EU foreign affairs
chief and vice president of the European Commission.
Six ministers from the three main political parties in
the coalition government of Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
will attend, the Sunday Mail said.
The paper quoted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
saying the Zimbabwe delegation's objective is to push for the removal of
sanctions on Mugabe and top officials in his ZANU-PF party.
"Our position is that the sanctions should be removed
unconditionally and that is what we are going to take to the table,"
"We are happy that they have invited us and we pray
that the goodwill they have shown in inviting us will also be extended
in removing the embargo."
The 27-nation EU removed a visa ban and asset freeze on
51 individuals in February to encourage "further progress" of political
reforms in Zimbabwe.
It also suspended the travel ban on Chinamasa and
Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi so they could travel to
Brussels for talks, but maintained asset freezes against them.
But 112 people are still subject to the measures.
Human Rights Watch had urged the EU to maintain the
travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe until the country follows through
on promised political reforms.
The EU sanctions were imposed in 2002 following elections marred by widespread violence and intimidation.
Mugabe, who is 88, has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980.
After failed elections in 2008, he was forced into a
power-sharing government with his rival Tsvangirai, a move meant to
clear the way to new polls.