Zimbabwe: European Parliament wants SADC to shut down training centre in Harare

News and Press Release
Originally published
HARARE - Zimbabwe's fallout with the international community is threatening to derail regional peacekeeping training with the European Parliament calling on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to close down its peacekeeping training centre in Harare.

In a raft of resolutions dated July 7, the Parliament called on SADC to close down the Harare training centre to show its displeasure with President Robert Mugabe's repressive rule and violation of human rights.

"The European Parliament calls upon SADC to close its regional peacekeeping training center in Harare as an indication of its willingness to exert pressure on the Mugabe regime," the Parliament resolution reads.

The European Union is a major sponsor of the SADC peacekeeping training centre. Operations at the centre could be severely hamstrung should European parliamentarians, unhappy over the centre's location in Harare, pressure the union to withdraw funding.

The EU, United States, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland three years ago imposed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his top officials for stealing elections, failure to uphold the rule of law, human rights and for the seizure of land from white farmers without paying compensation.

The Western nations, that have cut all non-humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe, also banned military sales to Harare. The International Monetary Fund and other multilateral financiers and development assistance institutions have also withheld support to Zimbabwe.

But the SADC peacekeeping centre had remained unaffected by Harare's estrangement from the international community because it belongs to the region and is aimed at promoting peace.

The European Parliament, which also passed a resolution calling on Mugabe to step down from power, called for curtailment of economic links with Harare and said EU-based multinational corporations should not enter contracts that might help prop up the Zimbabwe government.

The parliament also called for the appointment of an EU special envoy for Zimbabwe to galvanise African and international pressure for change in the southern African nation.

The European Parliament's resolutions have been forwarded to the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council for consideration and possible actioning. The key council meets on Monday and Tuesday next week. - ZimOnline