Zimbabwe sanctions not discussed in EU meeting

The Swedish development aid minister Gunilla Carlsson has said that EU sanctions imposed on Zimbabe were not discussed at an EU meeting with President Mugabe on Saturday.

Swedish Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson said the dropping of targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe had not been discussed in talks here Saturday.

“We didn’t discuss that. This was not a negotiation time,” she said following the meeting between Mugabe and a high-level European Union delegation.

The meeting, aimed at easing diplomatic tensions, focused on the troubled implementation of a fragile unity deal between Mugabe and former political rival Morgan Tsvangirai who joined an inclusive government in February.

The EU and the United States imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle following a disputed presidential poll in 2002, which Western nations as well as independent local poll monitors described as flawed.

The Local reported on Saturday that Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt had resisted pressure from the South African president Jacob Zuma to push for the lifting of sanctions imposed on its neighbour Zimbabwe, denying that they were the cause of the country’s problems.

“It is not the restrictions that are creating problems in Zimbabwe, it is the mismanagement … not respecting of human rights,” he said in response to a question at a public address in Johannesburg.

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Coming soon: an H&M store in South Africa

Swedish cheap'n'chic fashion giant H&M will open its first store in South Africa in 2015, its first foray into sub-Saharan Africa, the company announced on Thursday.

Coming soon: an H&M store in South Africa

H&M said it had signed a contract for a store in Johannesburg, but it was also looking into opening in Cape Town as well and therefore it could not say which store would open first.

“We’re still in the early stages … but there will be several stores,” H&M spokeswoman Camilla Emilsson-Falk told AFP.

IN PICTURES: Hot designs at Mercedes Benz Stockholm Fashion Week

The company said it saw great potential in the South African market but refused to disclose any details.

“We see great potential for further expansion in this region. We look forward to bringing fashion and quality at the best price to the customers in South Africa,” H&M’s chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said in a statement.

The first store that opens will be a full concept flagship store, the company said.

H&M’s only other stores on the African continent are in Egypt and Morocco.

The company said it had opened some 100 new stores in the second quarter, bringing its total number of outlets worldwide to 2,908.

IN PICTURES: More scenes from Mercedes Benz Stockholm Fashion Week

Using an average annual exchange rate, H&M remained the biggest clothing company in 2012 with its sales edging out Spanish competitor Inditex, which owns Zara.

But H&M risks losing its number one spot this year to Inditex, which has twice as many stores, is growing faster and is more profitable.

IN PICTURES: Take a look back through some of H&M’s top collaborations

AFP/The Local/og

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