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Washington Grants Visa To Zimbabwean Minister of Mugabe's ZANU-PF

The U.S. administration has granted a visa to a Zimbabwean minister of the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe who had previously been barred from entering the United States, allowing him to come to Washington next week with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Sources in Harare said Tsvangirai leaves on Saturday for the Netherlands but is scheduled to be in Washington on Monday, when he is expected to meet President Barack Obama.

Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi of ZANU-PF will be traveling with Mr. Tsvangirai. Though he is not among ZANU-PF officials subject to travel and financial sanctions, he was rebuffed last month when he sought to travel to Washington with Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

Sources in Harare said Mzembi is considered to be a moderate and conjectured that the U.S. administration might be be trying to isolate ZANU-PF hardliners.

Also accompanying Mr. Tsvangirai will be Economic Development Minister Elton Mangoma and Regional Integration Minister Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, respectively of the Tsvangirai formation of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and the MDC grouping headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

The delegation will seek budgetary and humanitarian assistance, government sources said.

Minister of State Gorden Moyo, attached to the prime minister’s office, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the cabinet has decided Mr. Tsvangirai and his staff should be in charge of coordinating humanitarian assistance.

London-based human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said ZANU-PF must capitalize on the olive branch seemingly extended by the Obama administration and embrace reform.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...