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EU to assess relationship with Zimbabwe

Aug. 22, 2013 at 10:20 AM

BRUSSELS, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The European Union will review its relationship with Zimbabwe in light of concerns about the conduct of recent elections, the EU foreign policy chief said.

The EU since 2002 has provided Zimbabwe with approximately $2 billion in development assistance. It expressed concern, however, about political violence that surrounded past elections in the country.

A Constitutional Court in Zimbabwe announced Thursday it dismissed an election challenge by contender and outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, saying longtime incumbent Robert Mugabe was the "credible" victor of an August election, the BBC reports.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she "takes note" of the declaration, welcoming the role regional observers played in the contest. She said she had "serious concerns" about the voting, however, and highlighted the need for transparent elections in the future.

"The EU will review its relations with Zimbabwe, taking account of all these factors," she said in a statement. "Our goal is to support the Zimbabwean people in achieving a more prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe, as a sure foundation for the future full normalization of relations between Zimbabwe and the EU."

Local monitors said there were issues with voter eligibility.

Mugabe secured a seventh four-year term in office with more than 60 percent of the vote. Tsvangirai called the presidential election fraudulent.

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