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ZIMBABWE/UK EXILESBack
[Published: Saturday June 20 2009]

Zimbabwe PM jeered by UK exiles

London, 20 June-(ANA)-Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been booed and shouted down at an event in London where he was addressing more than 1,000 Zimbabwe exiles.

Mr Tsvangirai’s appeal to Zimbabweans to return home was poorly received as questions were raised over assurances he made about the country's stability.

His UK visit is the final stage of a tour of Europe and the US.

He has been seeking funding for the unity government he formed with President Robert Mugabe in February.

Mr Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change who became prime minister in the power-sharing deal, said the country needed the exiles' skills and money to help to rebuild Zimbabwe.

He told the audience that improvements had been made through the creation of a "transitional" government, and that no-one had been "fooled" or co-opted.

Referring to the power-sharing deal, he went on: "It represented the best solution to a crisis that has engulfed us as a people."

The Zimbabwean prime minister said inflation had been cut, schools had reopened and previous scarce commodities were now available, adding that the government had "made sure that there is peace and stability in the country".

That assertion provoked a noisy reaction from sections of the audience.

He acknowledged that no-one should forget the struggles and suffering of the Zimbabwean people, adding that he, as a victim of beatings and arrests, would be the last to forget the past.

However, Mr Tsvangirai told the gathering that the plan to work towards a new constitution and referendum over the next 18 months was the correct one.

The European Union still holds sanctions against Zimbabwe, and EU leaders have told the Zimbabwean prime minister they want to see improvements in the human-rights situation in the country before they consider lifting them.

The Foreign Office in London has sounded a similar note, with minister Lord Malloch Brown saying sanctions would not be lifted until Zimbabwe's transition to democracy has "reached a point of no return". (ANA)

FA/ANA/20 June 2009---


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