Head of the European Union delegation in Zimbabwe, Mr aldo Dell â€˜Allriccia says the grouping is encouraged by the progress that the Zimbabwean parties in the inclusive government are making, citing the recent meetings held by GPA negotiators as a milestone towards the countryâ€™s development.
Mr Dellâ€™ Alariccia was speaking to Zimbabwean journalists this Wednesday morning, ahead of the Europe Day celebrations to be held next week.
Nearly two weeks ago, Zimbabwean negotiators in the GPA agreed on a draft road map to the holding of free and fair elections in the country, and prior to that, they had also appended their signatures to the report on the progress of the GPA implementation as stipulated in the agreement.
The two documents were forwarded to the GPA principals and the South African facilitation team in preparation for the SADC Summit to be held in Windhoek, Namibia in two weeks time.
Mr Dell â€˜Allariccia said the progress made by the parties in this regard is a positive development which if pursued with greater vigour, could lead to the breaking of the impasse between Zimbabwe and the EU.
“These are all encouraging signals and we are observing that. We hope that indeed the progress in that roadmap will lead to the normalisation of the situation in the country and the relationship between EU and the Zimbabwean government,” he said.
He further pointed out that some issues initially raised in 2002 when the European block imposed illegal sanctions on the country, such as the allegedÂ human rights abuses and incidents of violence no longer exist, making it necessary for the EU to revise their position regarding the sanctions.
The progress among the parties has also been further reinforced by messages on Zimbabwe coming from the SADC region, which at its august meeting last year, set up a team to visit Brussels and some western capitals and campaign for the removal of the sanctions.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the EU soured from the year 2000 when Britain decided to internationalise the purely bilateral Zimbabwe-Britain land dispute after the British reneged on the Lancaster House promise to fund land reform.
Dialogue for reengagement between the two sides opened in July 2009 following a visit to Brussels by a team of Zimbabwean ministers from the inclusive government, followed by another visit last year.
Although willingness for resumption of normal ties between the two sides has been pronounced many times, little progress has been made on the conference table with the EU refusing to lift the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.