Spain to encourage EU-Zimbabwe dialogue
Spain promised Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai it would promote dialogue between the European Union and Harare during its upcoming EU presidency.Madrid - Spain promised Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai it would promote dialogue between the European Union and Harare during its upcoming EU presidency.
Tsvangirai, who is in Spain to receive a lifetime achievement award, met separately in Madrid with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.
Moratinos briefed Tsvangirai on Spain's priorities for its six-month presidency of the EU starting in January, the foreign ministry said in a statement following the talks and a working lunch between the two.
He said Spain "welcomed the launch last June of political dialogue between the EU and Zimbabwe" and hopes that "the process promoted by the recent EU Troika visit to Zimbabwe last September continues to bear fruit," the statement said.
"During its presidency, Spain will promote talks between the EU and Zimbabwe," it added.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union were strained nearly 10 years ago by a series of elections marred by violence and allegations of human rights abuses by veteran President Robert Mugabe's government.
But an EU delegation met with Mugabe and his long-time rival Tsvangirai in September in the bloc's first talks with Harare in seven years.
Moratinos also expressed Spain's "strong support for the stabilization process" underway in Zimbabwe "and for the democratic transition led by Tsvangirai himself, who represents the new Zimbabwe and is the hope of the African country's people," the foreign ministry said.
Tsvangirai joined Mugabe in a unity government in February in a bid to end political unrest that erupted after last year's failed elections.
But the two remain deadlocked over key appointments, while Mugabe stands accused of dragging his feet over reforming media laws and the security forces.
Tsvangirai on Friday received a lifetime achievment award from the Cristobal Gabarron Foundation in the northern city of Valladolid.