UK: Zim needs further reform

r_mark_malloch-brown.jpgMark Malloch-Brown London - Britain welcomed early progress made by the fragile Zimbabwean unity government on Saturday, but noted that the ailing nation was in need of a great deal of reform.

Junior foreign minister Mark Malloch-Brown added that talks with
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Foreign Minister
Simbarashi Mumbengegwi in Pretoria had been "open and productive" and
pledged to maintain a close dialogue with the fledgling government in

"My exchanges with both ministers were open and productive,"
Malloch-Brown said in a statement after the meeting on the fringe of
the inauguration of South African President Jacob Zuma, the first such
talks between a British government minister and Tsvangirai since the
latter became prime minister.

"I welcomed areas of progress made by the inclusive government to date
and assured both Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mumbengegwi of the UK’s continued
willingness to help the Zimbabwean people to rebuild their country.
However I also underlined the need for further reform."

Malloch-Brown said areas of concern for Britain were the continued
detention of political prisoners in Zimbabwe, the continued invasion of
commercial farms and the unilateral appointment of officials.

"Progress is needed in these and other areas before the UK and the
international community as a whole can engage more fully. In the
meantime the UK remains fully committed to helping Zimbabwe with its
most pressing humanitarian and essential needs.

"Prime Minister Tsvangirai, Minister Mumbengegwi and I agreed that our
respective governments would continue to maintain a close dialogue as
Zimbabwe works through this challenging transitional period."

News24/Agence France Presse (AFP)

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