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Germany / Mugabe - 2002-03-15


Germany is taking a tough line with Zimbabwe following the controversial re-election of Robert Mugabe as president.

Development minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said the German government plans to reduce its development aid to the country.

In an interview with the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper published Friday, the minister said the Zimbabwean population had been intimidated on a massive scale.

Ms. Wieczorek-Zeul told the newspaper there will be no further German cooperation with the Zimbabwean government or any of its officially sponsored organizations.

However, she said Germany will continue to fund projects run by non-governmental organizations, churches or charitable foundations so that the very poorest do not suffer.

Germany's latest move comes on top of a decision taken last year to cut its development aid to the Mugabe government by over 12-million dollars, to about four-point-five million dollars, because of what were regarded as government-tolerated attacks on white farmers.

The minister is also calling on other European Union nations to continue the sanctions they imposed last month, when they agreed to freeze bank accounts belonging to Mr. Mugabe and his ministers as well as freezing development money.

At the same time, though, Ms. Wieczorek-Zeult warned against allowing the developments in Zimbabwe to affect European views of other African nations. It is very important, she told the newspaper, to prevent false generalizations.

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