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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Imposes Sanctions on Zimbabwe

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Union, angered by Zimbabwe's refusal to let its observers freely monitor next month's presidential election, placed sanctions Monday on the government of President Robert Mugabe and ordered its team to come home.

At a meeting, the EU foreign ministers issued a statement saying Mugabe's government had "prevented the deployment of an EU election observation mission.

"The EU remains seriously concerned at political violence, serious violations of human rights and restrictions on the media ... which call into question the prospects for a free and fair election," the statement said. As a result "targeted sanctions" were to be imposed, officials said.

Officials said the EU would cut off 128 million euros ($110 million) in development aid for the 2002-07 period. The EU also imposed a ban on travel visas to the EU for Mugabe and 20 of his Cabinet ministers.

Mugabe spokesman George Charamba did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The statement added that humanitarian aid would continue.

Zimbabwe on Monday denied credentials to some news organizations whose coverage it did not like and to many journalists from countries Zimbabwe considers hostile to Mugabe's authoritarian rule. Swedish reporters were told Sunday they would not be allowed in. Some journalists from other European countries and South Africa were also rejected.

A few U.S. media organizations, including The Associated Press, were told Monday they had been denied permission to bring in foreign reporters.