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Mugabe party dismisses EU sanctions lift on Zimbabwe

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's political party on Monday dismissed as a "non-event" the lifting of most European Union sanctions against 81 allies of the veteran president.

"We dismiss that process as a non-event," Rugare Gumbo, spokesman for the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party told AFP.

"We are not looking for a partial removal of names from the list. We are looking for the total and unequivocal lifting of sanctions which were not justified in the first place."

The 27-nation EU grouping on Monday suspended most of its sanctions against a list of 91 people after a "peaceful, successful and credible" referendum on a new constitution earlier this month.

The bloc also suspended measures against eight of 10 firms or entities.

Mugabe, 89, remained among 10 Zimbabweans still targeted by the bloc's travel ban and assets freeze, a European diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"We are not going to rest until all sanctions against Zimbabweans are lifted," said Gumbo.

Zimbabwe held a referendum on March 16 which endorsed a new constitution that curtails presidential powers and limits a president's tenure to two five-year terms.

The referendum is set to pave the way to crucial elections later this year.

The EU imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his allies following presidential polls in 2002 which Western observers said were rigged to hand Mugabe victory.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130325/mugabe-party-dismisses-eu-sanctions-lift-zimbabwe