Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Zimbabwe's president on Monday ruled out prosecuting those behind the 2008 violence and killings that engulfed the country and accounted for about 200 deaths.
"We have embarked in earnest on the process on a national healing and integration, for the sake of our children and prosperity," President Robert Mugabe said in a national address in the capital, Harare, marking National Heroes Day.
"I want to urge all of you to note that the process of reconciliation is national. It does not seek to ferret out supposed criminals for punishment but calls all of us to avoid the deadly snare of political conflict," Mugabe said.
After a first round of elections in which Mugabe lost to current Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change, violence mainly targeting that group erupted, prompting Tsvangirai to pull out of the race.
Mugabe eventually won the second round of voting but was never recognized by the Southern African Development Community, and a coalition government was formed.
Turning to the West, Mugabe said the sanctions imposed on him and his cronies in 2002 are responsible for the suffering of Zimbabweans.
He accused the European Union and the United States of "not being sincere" in the dialogue that has started since the formation of the coalition government last year.
"No sooner had we started the re-engagement than we realized that the EU is far from being sincere, as the bloc keeps on shifting posts. The EU and the U.S. are keen to have our people continue suffering under the evil sanctions," said the 86-year-old leader.
"We must not be timid to defend [sanctions]. I say sanctions must go. Zimbabwe will never be a colony again," Mugabe said. He added that the nation's economy is growing steadily but is crippled by the sanctions.