Council conclusions on Zimbabwe - 2675th General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting - Brussels, 18 Jul 2005

  1. The EU agreed that the situation in Zimbabwe is of deepest concern. The Council recalled that it has repeatedly urged the Government of Zimbabwe to take effective measures to improve the situation. The Council expressed deep concern that there has been little progress.

2. Against this background, the Council condemned the latest developments under "Operation Murambatsvina" (forcible demolitions and internal displacement) which have caused great human suffering, as already expressed in the Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the EU issued on 7 June. The Council regretted that the Government of Zimbabwe has chosen not to tackle the root causes of the current crisis. It expressed its profound concern that these evictions and demolitions have been undertaken in contravention of international law on human rights.

3. The Council expressed utmost concern that forcible displacement to rural areas does not provide a humane and sustainable solution at a time when the rural areas are suffering acute food shortages.

4. The Council noted that the Government of Zimbabwe has outlined measures to provide alternative shelter and informal trading areas and insisted that this be done urgently and with due consideration to those who have lost their dwellings and livelihoods due to this operation.

5. The Council further noted that the European Commission and member states are already providing much-needed assistance and stood ready to increase assistance to those in need, in accordance with the principles of humanitarian aid, especially where there is a threat to life, and in this context, called for unfettered and unconditional access to the displaced population.

6. The Council welcomed the despatch of the UN Special Envoy (Anna Tibaijuka) to assess the situation, and looks forward to her report. The Council also supported the decision of the AU to send a Special Envoy (Tom Nyanduga) and looked forward to the successful completion of his mission.

7. The Council welcomed the statement by G8 leaders on 8 July expressing concern about the recent actions of the Government of Zimbabwe.

8. The Council recalled Common Position 2005/444/CFSP of 13 June 2005 and reiterated its decision in 2002 that, while the Government of Zimbabwe continues to engage in serious violations of human rights and of the freedom of opinion, of association, and of peaceful assembly, the EU will apply restrictive measures against the Government of Zimbabwe and those who bear a wide responsibility for such violations.

9. The Council reiterated its commitment to work closely with African partners to address Zimbabwe as an issue of mutual concern. The Council recalled Africa's commitment to human rights and good governance and called on the African Union, and in particular SADC, to use their influence to bring an end to the government provoked sufferings in Zimbabwe. The Council recalled that EU would keep its policy toward Zimbabwe under constant review including on restrictive measures.