Britain urges deeper EU sanctions on Zimbabwe

  • World
  • Wednesday, 25 Jun 2008

MYT 9:16:59 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Wednesday it was drafting new sanctions it hoped the European Union would impose on members of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government and urged world leaders to work towards removing the leader.

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly Prime Minister's Questions session in the House of Commons in central London June 25, 2008. (REUTERS/Stephen Hird)

"We are preparing intensified sanctions, financial and travel sanctions, against named members of the Mugabe regime," Prime Minister Gordon Brown told parliament.

He said the way forward on Zimbabwe was United Nations and the African Union "working together for a change of regime".

The foreign office said Britain was preparing proposals for a widening and deepening of EU sanctions on Zimbabwe that it would take to the next EU foreign ministers' meeting in July.

These could include targeting further members of Mugabe's inner circle who are not currently affected by sanctions, further action against travel, foreign bank accounts or the education of children of Mugabe's close supporters.

The sanctions would be targeted to ensure they do not impact on the poor, a foreign office spokeswoman said.

Britain believes EU action against Zimbabwe carries more clout. Mugabe often portrays the sanctions against his country as part of a bilateral battle between Zimbabwe and its former colonial master.

Zimbabwe has been thrown into turmoil since its disputed election in March. The opposition MDC has withdrawn from a presidential run-off with Mugabe because of violence.

Mugabe, 84, has refused to call off the vote, shrugging off international pressure.

Southern African leaders were meeting on Wednesday to discuss the crisis following an unprecedented U.N. Security Council statement on Monday that condemned the violence and said a free and fair run-off election on Friday was impossible.

Brown said companies that were helping Mugabe's regime should "reconsider their position".

Brown also said his government had agreed with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to ban the Zimbabwean cricket team from touring England next year.

"We want to ensure Zimbabwe does not tour England next year and we will call for other countries to join us in banning Zimbabwe from the Twenty20 international tournament," he said.

Zimbabwe were due to play two test and three one-day matches in England in May, ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in June.

The ECB said in a statement it "deplores the position in Zimbabwe and, like Cricket South Africa, finds this untenable".

"Therefore all bilateral arrangements are suspended with Zimbabwe Cricket with immediate effect," the statement added.

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