Tuesday, February 27, 2024
HomenewsEU extends arms embargo on Zimbabwe into a 13th year, citing 'internal...

EU extends arms embargo on Zimbabwe into a 13th year, citing ‘internal repression’


Relations between the EU and Zimbabwe hit a bad patch in 2023 ahead of the general elections.


Relations between the EU and Zimbabwe hit a bad patch in 2023 ahead of the general elections.

  • The EU has renewed sanctions on Zimbabwe Defence Industries, a government arms manufacturer and procurement company.
  • The EU said the embargo did not affect the people of Zimbabwe, its economy, foreign direct investments, or trade.
  • Zimbabwe has been sourcing arms from Turkey, Russia, and China since the embargo began in 2011.

The European Union (EU) has extended an arms embargo introduced in 2011 on the Zimbabwean government for a further year.

The EU said it was extending the targeted sanctions “in view of the situation in Zimbabwe” amid concerns the state could use arms for civilian repression.

Zimbabwe Defence Industries, a state-owned arms manufacturing and procurement company, is the only entity on the list.

The measures are in place as an “embargo on arms and equipment which might be used for internal repression, and a targeted asset freeze against one entity, Zimbabwe Defence Industries”.

In 2023, the EU removed Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, former first lady Grace Mugabe, and Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Valerio Sibanda from its targeted persons list.

Currently, there are no targeted individuals on the list.

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“The EU will continue to closely follow developments in Zimbabwe, with particular attention to the human rights situation and recalls its readiness to adapt the whole range of its policies accordingly,” it said.

Relations between the EU and Zimbabwe hit a bad patch in 2023 ahead of general elections when the state media in Zimbabwe accused the EU of seeking to shape a negative narrative about the elections.

Numerous international and regional observers noted that the 30 August elections in Zimbabwe did not pass the credibility test.

In response, the EU withdrew its budgetary support to the tune of R95 million for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The arms embargo by the EU was enacted on 15 February 2011, when the EU Council adopted Decision 2011/101/CFSP.

The EU emphasised the arms embargo did not “affect the people of Zimbabwe, its economy, foreign direct investments, or trade”.

Some of Zimbabwe’s arms since 2014 have been sourced from Turkey – which is not an EU member.

In June 2023, the two countries signed a Military Framework Agreement on the sidelines of the International Defence Industries Fair in Ankara.

Zimbabwe has in the past shown interest in buying arms from Russia and in December 2023, China gifted Zimbabwe military equipment worth a reported R530 million.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.



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