HARARE, Feb 18 — A group calling itself Zimbabweans Against Sanctions and led by prominent whites in the country have called on the European Union (EU) to unconditionally lift all sanctions against Zimbabwe and its leaders.

It says the decade-long ban on the country is not just hurting President Robert Mugabe’s inner circle, but all Zimbabweans, including the southern African country’s white businesses. The group says its members have been unable to access international financing as a result of the ban.

The lobby group, which is scheduled to officially launch next month, is made up of some 3,000 Zimbabwean whites, including former international cricketer Heath Streak and Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Kirsty Coventry.

The group’s chairman, Mathew Smith, said here Monday that they were forming this lobby group because the truth about Zimbabwe needed to be heard, and for that truth to be heard it needed to be told from their perspective, especially as white Zimbabweans on whose behalf these damaging sanctions were supposedly imposed.

Smith said they believed that the sanctions were not only targeted but were in fact broad-based financial sanctions in their nature, and their impact was exemplified by the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera Act) passed by the United States Congress in 2001.

He said: “Whether you call them smart or targeted measures, their effect has neither been smart nor targeted as it consumed Zimbabwe and all its citizens in one and the same negative way without discrimination.”

Meanwhile, EU ministers have approved the suspension of most sanctions against Zimbabwe but they have left in place those directly targeting Mugabe and his wife, Grace.

Source: SABC