Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has condemned “bloody whites” for meddling in his country’s affairs and attacked the West for trying to impose its rule on the southern African nation.
Mugabe’s comments on Friday came a day before he met a delegation of European Union representatives who are in the country to ease relations and push progress on Zimbabwe’s political reforms. Mugabe, 85, welcomed the delegation Saturday “with open arms,” news outlets reported. Addressing his ZANU-PF party’s youth conference in the capital of Harare on Friday, Mugabe indicated a tougher stance. “We have stood firm, and we have refused to let go,” Mugabe said. “Sanctions or no sanctions, Zimbabwe remains ours.” The European Union imposed travel bans on Mugabe and his representatives in 2002. The bans followed Mugabe’s accusations of violations of human rights and rigging of an election. “Who said the British and the Americans should rule over others That’s why we say, down with you. We have not invited these bloody whites. They want to poke their nose into our own affairs. Refuse that,” said Mugabe, drawing a thunderous applause from his party supporters. “Why are (there) sanctions Why are our people being punished It is because the imperialists want our heritage.” Mugabe also reiterated Friday there will be no reversal of his controversial land reform program, which many critics say is responsible for the country’s food shortages. The program seizes land from white farmers. Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, is heading the EU delegation, together with EU’s commissioner for development policy, Karel De Gucht. Sweden holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. The delegation will also meet Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is part of a power-sharing government with former rival Mugabe. “Mugabe and Tsvangirai must show a will to return to the General Political Agreement (GPA) which was signed over a year ago,” Carlsson’s press secretary, Peter Larsson told CNN. “So far, we have seen no progress at all toward an implementation of the reform this agreement spelled out. If Mugabe and Tsvangirai can show us a roadmap toward a return to the GPA, then the EU is willing to take up bilateral relations with Zimbabwe. But until that, we are not.” The General Political Agreement spelled out a number of fundamental democratic reforms, but so far there has been no progress toward them, Carlsson said in a statement. “There have not yet been clear positive developments in all areas. I am still concerned at the lack of democratic development,” Carlsson said. “The EU wants to help, but the starting point must be the GPA, and we have to see real progress toward it,” Larsson said. In addition to travel restrictions, the European Union has also frozen the assets of more than 200 Zimbabweans for allegedly violating human rights, the Swedish EU presidency says.