photo by jon nicholson

news - Zimbabwe Ready for 'Cooperative' Relations with West

october 6th, 2009

"President Robert Mugabe said on Tuesday that Zimbabwe was ready for 'fresh and cooperative relations' with Western nations that have spearheaded global condemnation of his rule.

'Our country remains in a positive stance to enter into fresh and cooperative relations with all those countries that have been hostile to us in the past,' he said in opening a new session of parliament.

'Our re-engagement with the EU bloc is gathering momentum,' he added.

The EU last month sent a high-level delegation to Zimbabwe to meet with Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader who took office in February under a power-sharing deal, in the first such mission in seven years.

On the eve of the visit, Mugabe lambasted 'bloody whites' for interfering in Zimbabwe's affairs.

A top Mugabe ally, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, later accused the delegation of bias toward Tsvangirai, saying the EU was seeking to undermine the unity government.

But Mugabe told parliament that ties with the EU were improving, though he repeated his call for the bloc to end sanctions on him and his inner circle.

'As our inclusive government re-engages the western countries, we expect those countries that have impose illegal sanctions, which have hurt and continue to hurt our economy and the generality of our people, to remove them,' he said.

The European Union and the United States have imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe, his family and around 200 others closely connected him.

Mugabe claims the measures have undermined Zimbabwe's economy, which has been decimated since 2000, when the 85-year-old launched land reforms that upended the nation's critical farm sector.

The opening ceremony at parliament was the first since the formation of the power-sharing government and was attended by Tsvangirai and deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara."

MORE: "Zimbabwe ready for 'cooperative' relations with West" (AFP)

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