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Britain's Gordon Brown Moots Readmission of Zimbabwe to Commonwealth

While raising the possibility Harare might be readmitted over the next two years, he said significant reforms remain to be implemented by the national unity government in Harare

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has mooted the possibility Zimbabwe might regain its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations, from which it resigned in 2003 after being suspended over human rights issues.

Brown raised the possibility of readmitting Harare as he headed for the summit of Commonwealth nations in Trinidad and Tobago that opened Friday, though he said Britain remains concerned about the pace of reform in Harare despite the progress made by the unity government since its inception in February.

Mr. Brown said the best way forward would be for the Commonwealth to make an offer of readmission conditional on the Zimbabwean government's fulfillment of the 2008 Global Political Agreement on power-sharing.

Observers said Mr. Brown was extending an olive branch to President Robert Mugabe, who despite a rapprochement between London and Harare continues to denounce Mr. Brown as a neocolonialist bent on regime change.

News reports quoted Minister of State Didymus Mutasa, attached to President Mugabe's office, as saying Zimbabwe did not want to rejoin the Commonwealth.

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that Zimbabwe must undertake serious reforms if it is to be readmitted to the Commonwealth even on the two-year timeline envisioned by Brown.