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EU concerned by Zimbabwe crisis, urges 'peaceful resolution'

Une capture d'écran montrant le général Sibusiso Moyo, s'exprimant à la télévision zimbabwéenne, à Harare, le 15 novembre 2017
Dewa MAVHINGA (AFP)
President Robert Mugabe currently under house arrest

The EU called Wednesday for a "peaceful resolution" to the crisis in Zimbabwe, after the military seized control and President Robert Mugabe said he was under house arrest.

The 93-year-old Mugabe's decades-long grip on power in Zimbabwe appeared to be weakening as military vehicles blocked roads around parliament, though generals have denied they are staging a coup.

"It is a matter of concern for the EU," European Commission spokeswoman Catherine Ray said.

"We call on all the relevant players to move from confrontation to dialogue with the aim to a peaceful resolution," she told a daily briefing.

"We are following very closely what is happening on the ground, underlining that the fundamental rights for the citizens need to be respected and the constitutional order and democratic governance to be upheld."

Mugabe and his wife Grace are on the European Union's sanctions blacklist targeting key figures in Zimbabwe's ruling elite with travel bans and asset freezes.

The EU first imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2002 over its rights record.

Mugabe has called sanctions by the EU and United States "wrong" and last year blamed them for his government's failure to pay its workers on time, which led to a crippling strike.

Neighbouring South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, one of Mugabe's closest allies, said the veteran leader had told him by telephone that he was "confined to his home".

Tensions between Mugabe and the military establishment, which has long helped prop up his authoritarian rule, erupted in public over recent weeks.

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