The EU is set to offer to suspend sanctions against all Zimbabweans, except a "small core" that includes President Robert Mugabe, if the country continues its political reforms, diplomatic sources said Friday.
European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday will look at ways of encouraging reform in Zimbabwe, offering to resume direct aid to the government after a 10-year suspension, and to lift sanctions against around 100 Zimbabweans, the sources said.
"We think now is a critical moment to encourage the process of reform and incentify it," said a diplomat who asked not to be identified.
A statement approved by ambassadors of the 27 nations and expected to be adopted by the ministers states that a travel ban and asset freeze against around 100 people could be lifted after a constitutional referendum, due to be held later this year.
"A peaceful and credible constitutional referendum would justify the suspension of the majority of the European Union's restrictive measures," another diplomatic source quoted the statement as saying.
However the lifting of the sanctions "would be for all but a very small core of individuals," including Mugabe, a diplomat said. Around a dozen of 112 Zimbabweans would remain on the EU blacklist, he added.