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EU lifts sanctions against Grace Mugabe

EU lifts sanctions against Grace Mugabe
Widow Grace Mugabe wears a black veil as she follows the casket of former president Robert Mugabe to an air force helicopter for transport to a stadium where it will lie in st   -  
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Ben Curtis/Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

European Union

The Zimbabwean government has welcomed the decision of the European Union (EU) to lift travel and financial sanctions imposed on Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, former First Lady Grace Mugabe and military chief Valerio Sibanda.

The EU took the decision despite acknowledging that Zimbabwe's human rights record had not improved and has the potential of getting worse.

The sanctions were first imposed on them 20 years ago, but were suspended two years ago. They have now been completely removed.

However, Sanctions against Zimbabwe's defence industry remain in place.

Zimbabwean government spokesman Nick Mangwana says the decision is a positive indication of the positive relationship with the EU.

The government would continue pushing for all sanctions to be removed unconditionally, he added.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been trying to improve relations with Western nations since ousting long-serving ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017.

The Mugabe-led government had a fall-out with the EU after it seized white-owned farms, and launched a crackdown on the opposition.

Mrs Mugabe was famous for the shopping trips to Europe and is often referred to as the First Shopper, rather than First Lady, at home in Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe was part of some 20 others who were covered by the first wave of EU sanctions agreed in February 2002.