The European Union (EU) Head of delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Aldo Dell Ariccia, says the Bloc is willing to cooperate with Zimbabwe in development programmes, a move which has been described as smacking of double standards as it comes a day after the extension of illegal sanctions on the country by another year.
The European Union on Tuesday extended the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe by another year whilst their representatives in Zimbabwe today expressed interest in continued cooperation with Zimbabwe in various development programmes especially in the agricultural sector.
While appreciating the development aid, questions have been raised over why the punitive measures are being extended despite the re-engagement process since 2009.
In an interview after the meeting with Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Joseph Made, Ambassador Dell Arricia said the easing of the sanctions are in recognition of progress made in achieving socio-economic and political stability though reports say the decision by the EU was made last November.
Ambassador Arricia tried to evade questions on the stage managed cases of violence by MDC-T, which were aimed at influencing the EUâ€™s decision.
â€œWe have made assessments on the socio-political and economic developments and the easing of the sanctions is in recognition of the progress made. We expect greater commitment by the principals in the inclusive government in fulfilling the Global Political Agreement,â€ Ambassador Arricia said..
DrÂ Made said they had frank discussions with the EU representatives and buttressed the irreversibility of the land reform programme, which is a bilateral dispute between Zimbabwe and Britain.
â€œWe made it clear to the head of the delegation that the land reform programme is irreversible and any partners willing to work with use should understand this,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, the meeting between Ambassador Ariccia and Dr Made also discussed developments in irrigation as well as the livestock sector with Zimbabwe expecting to increase beef exports to the European Union.