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Britain Appoints New Ambassador to Zimbabwe

Ambassador Catriona Wendy Campbell Laing.

Britain has appointed Catriona Wendy Campbell Laing as the new ambassador to Zimbabwe to succeed Deborah Bronnert, who will be transferring to another diplomatic service appointment.

Mrs. Laing will take up her appointment in September 2014. Laing is an economist and has spent much of her career in Africa serving in Botswana, Kenya, Sudan and Somalia.

On her appointment, Laing has said, “I am delighted to have been appointed as British ambassador to Zimbabwe.

"It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to work with Zimbabwe on issues of importance to both countries and to continue to deepen our partnership."

Ties between Zimbabwe and former colonial power, Britain, have been strained for decades.

Harare has long blamed London for influencing fellow European nations to impose targeted sanctions on it after it redistributed land to indigenous blacks. But Britain blames the ruling Zanu-PF party of gross human rights abuses and holding what it calls sham elections.

Confronted with a deepening economic crisis, Zanu-PF is looking at ways of mending ties with western capitals - London in particular.

Former Zimbabwean diplomat in Ethiopia, Clifford Mashiri told VOA’s Blessing Zulu that ties between Britain and Zimbabwe is still work in progress.