EU boosts aid to Zimbabwe by 15 million dollars

Other News Materials 25 September 2008 14:51 (UTC +04:00)

The European Union's executive body on Thursday boosted its humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe by 10 million euros (14.7 million dollars), largely for health care, water and sanitation, reported dpa.

The aim of the boost, which comes on top of an earlier gift of 15 million euros in food aid, is to "tackle the suffering among the most vulnerable population groups affected by displacement, epidemics and violence," a statement from the European Commission said.

Since 2005, the EU has allocated more than 82 million euros in aid to Zimbabwe while keeping up a raft of sanctions against the regime of President Robert Mugabe.

EU foreign ministers had been set to toughen the sanctions on September 15, but the signing that day of a power-sharing deal between Mugabe and his pro-democracy challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, led them to postpone the decision.

The bloc is keeping up its pressure on Mugabe, however, insisting that his regime give aid workers full access to the hardest-hit parts of the country.

"The EU's humanitarian assistance is neutral and impartial and not an instrument of politics. I expect all restrictions on humanitarian operations to be totally lifted as a result of the recent political settlement," EU Aid Commissioner Louis Michel said.