24 December 2008
Australia strengthens its sanctions against Zimbabwe
Australia strengthened its sanctions against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe while simultaneously pledging more aid for the cholera epidemic devastating the country, reports Reuters.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Australian visa restrictions and stricter financial regulations on four extra companies and 75 extra people who are known to the Australian Government to be supporters of Mugabe's regime.
After losing democratic elections, Mugabe has remained in power despite repeated diplomatic attempts by international governments to convince him and his party to step down.
"The strengthened sanctions are a clear signal that the Australian government holds the brutal Mugabe regime and its closest supporters accountable for the tragedy occurring in Zimbabwe," said Smith told reporters.
"The best solution for Zimbabwe would be for Mr Mugabe and his regime's close supporters to stand down to allow Zimbabwe to rebuild its economy, society, and democracy," he added.
Australia has promised an extra $1million in aid to help non-government agencies fight the cholera epidemic, which is reported to have killed 1,000 Zimbabweans already.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.
Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.