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World | Zimbabwe
Politics | Economy - Development

Britain not ready to lift sanctions against Zim

afrol News, 19 June - The British government is not ready yet to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe, saying the country has to prove itself on the path to democracy.

However, assistant foreign minister Mark Malloch-Brown, said the United Kingdom will support Zimbabwe's inclusive government, but with a bit of caution.

Mr Malloch-Brown said it was time to "show a little faith" in efforts to build a new Zimbabwe, but said the issue and question of sanctions will only be addressed once the Harare administration has pushed beyond reasonable doubt, its commitment on democracy.

Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was scheduled to arrive in London in the evening today as part of an international tour to search and lobby for assistance to bail out Zimbabwe on its economic recovery programme.

While in Britain, Mr Tsvangirai, is expected to hold talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and also meet with business leaders.

Zimbabwe has in recent years fallen off with Britain as President Mugabe took a hard stance against the former colonial masters, with one of his famous statement against for British Prime Minister, “Keep your Britain and I will keep my Zimbabwe…”

With the opening of the doors in Harare for human rights and other groups, the world is beginning to look at Zimbabwe with a different eye.

Irene Khan, the Amnesty International secretary-general, speaking in Harare after the group’s first high-level visit to the country in a decade, said the fact that she has been able to visit is of itself an indication that the political climate has changed in some respects, but she said: "The human rights situation in Zimbabwe is precarious and the socio- economic conditions are desperate for the vast majority of Zimbabweans”.

"Persistent and serious human rights violations continue. Some elements of Zanu-PF see use of violence as a legitimate tool to crush political opponents and retain power and are paying only lip service to reforms, biding their time until the next elections," she added.

According to Amnesty, the situation in Zimbabwe was the worst in southern Africa for a country not at war.

Amnesty has also said the unity government formed by Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the former opposition Movement for Democratic change, had failed to reform the police, army or security forces, and ignores human rights concerns for the sake of political expediency.

"The lack of clear commitment of some parts of government are real obstacles that need to be confronted by the top leadership of Zimbabwe," she added.

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