U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered praise for Zimbabwe's
unity government Saturday in a message marking the 29th anniversary of
the African nation's independence from Britain.
Clinton said the
United States commends the transitional government's efforts and the
"progress it has achieved toward reforms that will benefit the
Since the power-sharing government was
created in February, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister and former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have pledged to
work together to confront their country's extreme poverty, collapsed
institutions and chronic food shortages.
In a unique display of
unity Saturday, Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai attended independence day
celebrations together for the first time.
At the national
stadium in the capital Harare, Mr. Mugabe called for "national
healing," an "environment of tolerance" and an end to instances of
violence, which he said have caused "untold harm" to individuals and
President Mugabe repeated his call to lift
sanctions on Zimbabwe, but his message was much different from years
past in which he has attacked Western nations and the political
opposition. Mr. Mugabe has held onto power since Zimbabwe's
independence in 1980, and frequently had his opponents beaten and
jailed until agreeing to share power in February.
The U.S. State
Department disclosed Friday that it had canceled its travel warning for
Zimbabwe, but officials say sanctions will remain in place until they
see clear signs the new unity government is respecting human rights.
Conditions in Zimbabwe have grown calmer since the unity government was created, but there are still many unresolved issues.
endured months of violence and turmoil last year both before and after
disputed presidential elections. The situation was made worse by food
shortages, hyperinflation and the breakdown of the health care system.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.