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Zimbabwe's President Mugabe Says Wants Restoration of Ties With West

Western governments have isolated Harare in the past ten years protesting gross human rights abuses under Mr. Mugabe's rule

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Thursday he wants to see restoration of ties between Harare and the West, adding that Zimbabwe was “waiting for positive movement” from the United States and the European Union.

Mr. Mugabe told the Reuters news agency that government has recently made diplomatic forays to engage the Americans and the Europeans, but said he was disappointment ties remain frosty.

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr. Mugabe challenged the administrations of U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron saying, “If they decide the relations should remain what they are, then we will know that they too are aggressors and not different from their predecessors.”

President Mugabe also said Western sanction on Harare should be removed. He vowed to press ahead with his indigenization plans saying the regulations were aimed at empowering the black majority.

Political analyst Mandlenkosi Gatsheni said Mr. Mugabe should implement tangible political reforms that entrench democracy and human rights if he wants better ties with the West.

For a deeper analysis, VOA Studio 7's Patience Rusere reached former National Constitutional Assembly director Ernest Mudzengi and political commentator Llyod Msipa. Msipa said sanctions on Harare are illegal and should be removed.

President Mugabe also commented on his health, laughing off circulating media reports suggesting that his health was failing. Unconfirmed reports have recently speculated Mr. Mugabe could be battling with cancer.

The reports were fueled by snaps that captured the long ruling 86-year-old leader stumbling on door steps in Uganda and China, and showing signs of fatigue. But Mr. Mugabe trashed the reports Thursday saying he was in good health.

Pretoria-based political analyst George Mkhwanazi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Chris Gande that records of President Mugabe’s health should not be kept under wraps since he is a public official.