Tsvangirai urges Paris to keep away from Mugabe
PARIS, Nov 30 (AFP) - The leader of Zimbabwe's political opposition called on Paris Tuesday to keep its distance from the government of President Robert Mugabe until fair elections are held in the African country.
“We ask France for non-normalisation (with Harare) until free and fair elections,” Morgan Tsvangirai told journalists in Paris during a visit to Europe.
“We expect France to play a constructive role … to ensure there is no dissension inside the European Union” regarding the European freeze on diplomatic exchanges and bans on travel by Mugabe and his ministers to Europe, he said.
During a visit to Brussels Monday, Tsvangirai said he regretted that Mugabe was able to come to Paris in early 2003 to attend the Franco-African summit – an arrangement possible because travel bans in place against Mugabe and many of his associates do not cover UN or other official meetings.
Mugabe’s government has been condemned by the West, in particular for its land reforms which have included ordering white Zimbabwe farmers to give their land to blacks.
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been stepping up pressure on the government to pass electoral reforms ahead of March parliamentary polls.
Mugabe’s regime has already warned Tsvangirai, a 52-year-old former union leader, that he should not return to Zimbabwe if he has been calling on Western governments to keep up sanctions against the state.
Tsvangirai’s European tour is the second foreign trip he has made since being acquitted of treason charges last month. The MDC leader is expected also to visit Germany.
Subject: French News