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Why Western sanctions on Zimbabwe may not matter anymore

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After the EU announced yesterday that it might lift sanctions, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai – a longtime rival of President Mugabe and now a member of a coalition government with Mugabe – was among the first to praise the move.

"Linking the suspension to the successful implementation of the constitution referendum is evidence that the EU is willing to respond to progress in reform of the democratic process in Zimbabwe," Mr. Tsvangira said yesterday.

In truth, by imposing sanctions for so long, the EU and the US may be losing their leverage. Today, Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner is South Africa, and China is its largest export destination, receiving 5.6 percent of all the goods and products that Zimbabwe produces.

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