Hague Zim Diamond Dilemma

It is sounding increasingly like Hague could abandon the long-term British foreign policy position and ease sanctions against Zimbabwe and Mugabe’s cronies. EU sanctions will lapse on Wednesday and the Belgians are putting a spanner in the works thanks to their interests in the diamond market. Guido hears that the FCO could give in this week. Mugabe’s diamond mining business, and its Mining Minister Obert Mpofu, are being considered for unfreezing of assets and lifting of travel bans.

Mpofu, a man of meagre means until diamonds were discovered in Zimbabwe in 2006, is said to have spent $20,000,000 of his own fortune on cars, property and gifts in Zimbabwe last year. The rest he just squandered. The ZMDC state mining firm that he runs is also a potential business partner hundreds British businesses queuing at the door of Zimbabwe. While it may be tempting for Hague to allow Mpofu and his ilk to come to the spend their cash here, and Britain has a financial interest in seeing restrictions lifted,  it comes at a price: ZMDC is the funding vehicle for Mugabe’s election machine and police state. Agree to lift sanctions now and the FCO will not have a leg to stand on over the Zimbabwean presidential elections, scheduled for July. You reap what you sow… 

UPDATE: The Telegraph’s man in Brussels has more on why the Belgians want the restrictions lifted.


Seen Elsewhere