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Volume 400: debated on Wednesday 26 February 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what powers the EU ambassadors meeting has to extend sanctions against Zimbabwe on behalf of the EU. [94729]

Common positions, including the targeted measures against the ZANU-PF regime, have to be agreed by the Council of Ministers, prepared by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper). When consensus is reached at Coreper, the decision is formally passed to the Council, but not discussed there.In the Zimbabwe case, Coreper reached consensus for a 12-month continuation of sanctions on 14 February 2003, and the Council formally agreed this on 18 February 2003, from which date the sanctions rolled over. The UK had argued strongly for such a result, and therefore welcomed it.