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Zimbabwe Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara Pursues Re-Engagement With Washington


Mutambara was invited by members of the Congressional Black Caucus to detail progress in Harare that might warrant the normalization of ties including the lifting of sanctions on President Mugabe and other ZANU-PF officials

U.S.-Zimbabwean re-engagement continued this week with meetings between Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and Congress members in Washington.

Mutambara was invited by members of the Congressional Black Caucus to detail progress in Harare that might warrant the normalization of ties including the lifting of sanctions targeting President Robert Mugabe and about 200 other ZANU-PF officials.

Analysts say the U.S. administration is not likely to lift the sanctions any time soon because the national unity government headed by Mr. Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change has not fully implemented the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing.

Mutambara told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that he hopes his mission will make a difference in easing tensions between Harare and Washington.

Three ministers of the inclusive government, meanwhile, were to head to Brussels early next week for a similar mission to the European Community.

Headed by Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma, the delegation will meet with EU Foreign Minister Cathy Ashton, Development Director Stefano Manservisi, and Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, government sources said.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, International Cooperation Minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, and Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Joey Bimha are the other members of the delegation.

Sources said ZANU-PF wanted Mr. Tsvangirai to lead the delegation and personally urge EU officials to lift their sanctions, but Mr Tsvangirai declined.

Mangoma said in an interview that Harare hopes the visit will strengthen ties with Europe.

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