I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 74 together.
Ireland has taken a strong forward position in the formation of EU policy in relation to the actions of the Government of Zimbabwe which have involved human rights violations and the undermining of democracy in that country. The EU has been engaged in a dialogue with Zimbabwe for ten months in an attempt to encourage the Zimbabwean Government to take steps to remedy its deteriorating internal situation. Consultations were held in Brussels on 11 January with a Zimbabwean delegation which included Foreign Minister Mudenge.
At those consultations the EU stressed the need for rapid and tangible results in five areas: an end to political violence; an invitation to the EU to support and observe the presidential election on 9-10 March and the need for a free and fair election; concrete action to protect the freedom of the mass media; independence of the judiciary; and an end to the illegal occupation of properties.
The EU side asked Zimbabwe to immediately take two steps. First, to invite international observers, including from the EU, at least six weeks before the election, and second, to ensure full access to national and international media to cover the election. The Zimbabwean delegation expressed a willingness to go some way towards meeting the EU's concerns, which Minister Mudenge later confirmed in writing. However, serious violations of human rights have continued to occur in the intervening period.
My EU colleagues and I, therefore, decided at the General Affairs Council on 28 January to close the consultations and implement targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe if the Government of Zimbabwe prevents the deployment of an EU election observation mission starting by 3 February 2002, or if it later prevents the mission from operating effectively; likewise, if the Government of Zimbabwe prevents the international media from having free access to cover the election; there is a serious deterioration in the situation on the ground, in terms of a worsening of the human rights situation or attacks on the opposition; or the election is assessed as not being free and fair.