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EU leader threatens to withdraw aid from ACP states
LEADER of the European Union Parliamentary team at the EU-ACP meeting in Brussels Mrs Glenys Kinnock yesterday threatened withdrawing development aid from all African, Caribbean and Pacific countries supporting Zimbabwe's inclusion in the fifth joint parliamentary session starting today.
The Minister of State for State Enterprises and Parastatals, Cde Paul Mangwana, told The Herald from Brussels that Mrs Kinnock, from Britain, was the co-president of the joint assembly, representing the EU wing.
She had circulated a document noting that 48 of the 77 countries supporting Zimbabwe were among the least developed nations.
The document, according to Cde Mangwana, said the 48 countries need not suffer simply because of Zimbabwe.
"However, the document made everyone angry in that the EU was now trying to dangle a carrot to divide the ACP countries.
"It actually strengthens their solidarity and instead blamed Western nations for the poverty prevailing in their countries," Cde Mangwana said.
He said Britain was trying to mobilise other European nations to gang up against Zimbabwe.
Despite the divisive manoeuvres by the EU, the ACP camp has remained resolute in its position in support of Zimbabwe.
The group yesterday issued a declaration that the two Zimbabwean delegates be allowed to attend the joint-parliamentary session or else the venue of the meeting had to be changed to accommodate them.
The EU Parliament is trying to ban the Zimbabweans from its Brussels building.
ACP members viewed the EU stance as an attempt to divide and recolonise Third World countries.
"The most plausible thing that could happen is that the EU would give in to the ACP or the meeting does not take place at all," said Cde Mangwana.
He said a preparatory meeting for the ACP unanimously agreed that they would have set bad precedence if they give in to the EU's demand to exclude them. He said some countries that have come up in full support include Jamaica, Haiti, Namibia and some Pacific Islands.
"We are fully paid up members and the only way they could exclude us from the meeting is by amending the rules governing EU-ACP because the rule provides immunity for us. If they cannot respect the laws which they wrote governing multilateral relations of the EU-ACP then they have no right to teach us about the rule of law," said Cde Mangwana.
He said it became apparent to ACP countries that EU had turned a diplomatic rift between Zimbabwe and Britain into a multilateral issue mainly because the presidential elections were won by President Mugabe, who was not their chosen candidate.
The EU Parliament decided to bar the two ministers from gaining access to the parliamentary premises, even though the EU itself and host Belgium had issued visas. The EU Parliament said the two ministers were on the list of banned Zimbabwean Government and Zanu-PF officials.
The ACP countries on Friday wrote to president of the EU Parliament, Mr Pat Cox, who had asked them to agree to exclude Zimbabwe saying the move contravened the ACP/EU protocols.
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