Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced a three-stage roadmap for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe, including requirements for a credible constitutional referendum and the holding of free and fair elections.
Senator Carr made this announcement following the agreement in Zimbabwe last week on the text for a new draft constitution.
"Zimbabwe's reform process has been painfully slow," Senator Carr said.
"However, leaders such as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai make the case for genuine progress in democratic reform, including during his visit to Australia in July 2012.
"Australia will therefore review its sanctions and tie any reductions to the achievement of democratic norms."
Under the Government's three-stage roadmap, Australia will reduce sanctions when the following benchmarks are met:
- A date for the constitutional referendum is announced;
- A peaceful and credible constitutional referendum is held; and
- Free and fair elections take place and a democratically-elected government takes office.
Senator Carr said the lifting of sanctions was contingent upon continued political progress in Zimbabwe. Lifted sanctions could be reimposed if the process towards free and fair elections became derailed.
The phased reduction of sanctions on Zimbabwe is consistent with approaches being pursued by the United States and the European Union.
Australia's current sanctions include travel and financial restrictions against 153 individuals and four entities, an arms embargo and prohibition on defence links.
Senator Carr also endorsed the positive role being played by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), especially South Africa, in facilitating efforts to return Zimbabwe to democracy.
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