Harare - President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party on Tuesday dismissed the easing of European Union sanctions on Zimbabwe as a “non-event,” after the veteran leader and his wife remained blacklisted.
The EU on Monday lifted a visa ban and assets freeze against members of Zimbabwe's ruling elite with the exception of Mugabe, who turns 90 on Friday, and his wife Grace.
“We want total removal of sanctions. We don't accept piecemeal removal of sanctions,” Rugare Gumbo, Zanu-PF spokesperson told AFP.
“As far as we are concerned that was a non-event. As long as sanctions remain on the first family, we have sanctions.”
As the EU continues to ease sanctions against Harare as an encouragement to reform, the 28-nation bloc is expected to take a significant political step Tuesday by agreeing to resume development aid to the government.
EU assistance has continued to flow into the country since 2002, when the EU imposed sanctions in protest against rights abuse and flawed democratic processes.
But for more than a decade the aid has been channelled through non-governmental agencies and UN organisations such as UNICEF.
From February last year, Brussels progressively suspended sanctions against more than 100 people and a dozen firms.
EU ministers on Monday removed restrictive measures still in place against eight of 10 Zimbabweans, but left Mugabe and his wife on the list, diplomats said.
In September, the EU lifted its sanctions on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, operator of one of the world's largest diamond fields which was blacklisted for allegedly channelling funds to Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.