The British Treasury said Friday that it supports the restoration of Zimbabwe’s voting rights in the International Monetary Fund, following a recent statement from the United States that it would not opposed such a development.
The U.K. Treasury issued a statement saying the macroeconomic environment in Zimbabwe has improved under Finance Minister Tendai Biti, and that this was one of the factors contributing to its decision in the matter.
"The UK government also welcomes Zimbabwe's re-engagement with the IMF over the last year, which has underpinned economic reform in Zimbabwe," it said. "Support for restoration of Zimbabwe's IMF voting rights is recognition of this progress, and forms part of Zimbabwe's re-engagement with international financial institutions," the Treasury said.
African affairs expert Tom Cargill of the Chatham House think tank in London told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the development indicates Britain is shifting its policy towards Zimbabwe.
Relations between Harare and London have been troubled lately by reactions from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party to a statement by Foreign Secretary David Miliband saying the British government would seek the views of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as to whether to lift sanctions on Mr. Mugabe and others.
ZANU-PF officials seized on Miliband's comment as evidence that the MDC was in a position to influence the West on sanctions, while MDC officials indicated their displeasure at the furor resulting from his statement.