LUSAKA, Zambia (AFP) — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe yesterday said sanctions slapped by the West on selected members and institutions of his administration, had failed and should be lifted.
Last month the European Union promised to ease most of the sanctions only if the country holds a "credible" vote on a new constitution, a key reform before new elections.
But veteran leader Mugabe would remain on an EU blacklist.
"The sanctions are a deliberate ploy to make us fail as Zimbabwe, but I can tell you that these sanctions have failed and they are not justified and should be removed," Mugabe told a banquet hosted in his honour during a state visit to Zambia.
Former colonial ruler Britain proposed the suspension of the 2002 sanctions in order to promote reforms in the southern African nation, much along the lines of the lifting of sanctions earlier this year to reward reformers in Myanmar.
Mugabe said the sanctions, imposed at the height of a violent land grab campaign and after a violent election, had been aimed at stopping his government from seizing the land.
"We refused to stop the land acquisition. The land in Zimbabwe is ours."
EU ministers said sanctions would be lifted against most of the 112 Zimbabweans still listed on a decade-old EU asset freeze and travel ban.
"We will continue to fight for these sanctions to be removed. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans and we will not surrender," said Mugabe.
He said despite the sanctions the "economy has grown, the mines are growing, inflation has gone down".