Saturday, June 13, 2009

(TALKZIMBABWE) US seeks ways to 'appropriately' back Zimbabwe

US seeks ways to 'appropriately' back Zimbabwe
Mutsawashe Makuvise
Thu, 11 Jun 2009 18:16:00 +0000

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (R) welcomes Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai. Pic: Reuters.

US SECRETARY of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday she was eager to hear about Zimbabwe's reform plans from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, days after a top aide voiced frustration at their slow pace.

Clinton spoke as she met PM Tsvangirai, who will see U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday to ask support for the inclusive Government he shares with President Robert Mugabe.

Clinton welcomed PM Tsvangirai as a "longtime advocate for his country and the people of Zimbabwe on "behalf of human rights and economic opportunity".

"He is now in a unified government that is attempting to move Zimbabwe forward into a better future," the chief U.S. diplomat said as she stood before the cameras with the prime minister.

"I am anxious to hear about the plans and the work that your government is undertaking and to look for ways that we appropriately can be supportive," Clinton told reporters at the State Department as she posed for pictures with PM Tsvangirai.

Johnnie Carson, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, on Monday said more political, social and economic reforms were needed before substantial US aid could kick in or targeted sanctions against President Mugabe were lifted.

While "deeply concerned" about the lack of reforms, he said Washington would keep providing humanitarian aid, notably to improve health care and promote democracy and good governance.

In a May interview with South African state television, secretary Clinton recognized President Mugabe's "historic contribution" to ending colonialism and oppression by helping the former Rhodesia gain independence from Britain in 1980.

Clinton's talks with PM Tsvangirai precede those at the White House on Friday with President Barack Obama.

The prime minister is on a three-week international tour designed to drum up political and financial support for Zimbabwe.

Reuters and AFP reports were used in this story.

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