10 Sep 2009

African leaders call for end to Zimbabwe sanctions

4:45 pm on 10 September 2009

Southern African leaders have called for all international sanctions on Zimbabwe to be lifted.

The statement came at a regional meeting of the heads of state in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The BBC reports the move is seen as a victory for President Robert Mugabe.

At the end of a two-day meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo the Southern African Development Community issued a statement saying it "noted the progress made in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement" in Zimbabwe.

It went on to call on the international community "to remove all forms of sanctions against Zimbabwe".

The statement was welcomed by Mr Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba, who labelled measures against Zimbabwe as "unjustified and illegal".

A proposal by Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who had lobbied for a special summit to assess the progress of the power-sharing government, was rejected.

He wants removal of sanctions to be conditional on how well the power-sharing deal signed last year has been implemented.

South African President Jacob Zuma, who has criticised Mr Mugabe in the past and was expected to side with Mr Tsvangirai, said there should be no conditions placed on the removal of sanctions.