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Zimbabwe at Top of List in Brown-Zuma Talks


South African President Jacob Zuma met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the second day of a state visit to Britain. The leaders spoke of their united front in dealing with international issues. Mr. Zuma questioned the benefits of sanctions in Zimbabwe.

Following talks with Mr. Brown, President Zuma repeated his suggestion that sanctions in Zimbabwe may limit progress in the country. "If the Zimbabwean issue is not moving forward, certainly some people could use sanctions as an excuse to say because we are sanctioned, how do we operate?," he said.

But he emphasized that the international community is united in its approach to the country. "We are agreed that we should all put our heads together to find a solution in Zimbabwe, so that Zimbabwe can move forward," said President Zuma.

The United States and the European Union have imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and some of his associates because of disputed elections and concerns over human rights abuses by his government.

Mr. Brown said some sanctions in Zimbabwe had been lifted, and emphasized the remaining sanctions target certain individuals. "We wish to work with the South African government to find a solution to the long-standing problems that have existed in Zimbabwe, and in recent weeks you may know that we have supported the reinstatement of Zimbabwe's voting rights at the IMF and reducing sanctions on some companies," he said.

But he said progress had to take place in Zimbabwe. "We want to see the commissions that have been set up on human rights and on the media, on governance move forward quickly so that people can see the future shape of Zimbabwe as a democratic, prosperous country where there is freedom of press and where there is respect for human rights," said the British prime minister.

Mr. Brown and Mr. Zuma also spoke about the global economy, climate change, nuclear non-proliferation, and the football World Cup, soon to take place in South Africa.

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