Peter Hain urges wider Zimbabwe sanctions aimed at Robert Mugabe
Source: The Guardian
A new supply of African blood diamonds is threatening to entrench the rule of Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe, just as Britain and other European countries plan to lift sanctions against the regime, it has been claimed.
Human rights charity Global Witness says money is being siphoned from diamond mines to finance a "parallel government" and its secret police force in Zimbabwe, helped by a Chinese businessman. It comes as a row brews over plans to lift travel restrictions and partial asset freezes imposed on some of President Mugabe's ministers by the EU.
At a special debate to be held in the Commons on Tuesday, former cabinet minister Peter Hain will urge the British government to keep measures already in place and to add more names, including those in a new Global Witness report, to the list of individuals and entities subject to sanctions.
Measures against Zimbabwe are to be reviewed by the EU at the end of this month, and there has been pressure to lift the "stigma" of sanctions to help the beleaguered country prepare for elections planned for some time next year. Whitehall sources say the government is happy to drop sanctions, although any lifting of the travel ban against Mugabe himself is "not on the table".