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President Obama Meets Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Tsvangirai Friday

U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Friday in Washington. The two leaders are expected to discuss what has been described as Harare's difficult road ahead.

Washington has said it wants to see reforms to the rule of law and human rights in Zimbabwe before it resumes financial aid.

Early this year, Tsvangirai, a former opposition leader, joined embattled President Robert Mugabe in a unity government in a bid to resolve the country's political and economic crisis.

"It is very important that America supports Mr. Tsvangirai," says political analyst Rejoice Mbwenya. "So there is a lot of expectation that perhaps for the first time he might come up with a plan that can support his call for aid to Zimbabwe."

Mbwenya adds that some Zimbabweans want international financial institutions to look more favorably on the unity government's effort to revive the country's ailing economy.

"Usually the idea behind the expectation is based on that the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the World Bank are likely to be more amenable to looking at the Zimbabwe case," he said.

Mbwenya says some people are hopeful Tsvangirai will make a convincing case to the U.S. president about the need for financial assistance. "They just hope that Mr. Tsvangirai might be able to persuade President Obama to consider lifting the sanctions that is imposed on Zimbabwe," Mbwenya said.

Mbwenya adds that the prime minister's recent remarks about the progress of the unity government have been contradictory.

"Mr. Tsvangirai unfortunately… sends conflicting signals because in one minute he will be talking about how difficult it has been working with Mugabe…and in the next sentence he will be talking about things looking up," he said.

Meanwhile, in an interview with VOA's Zimbabwe Service, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai acknowledged the shortcomings of the unity government. He also expressed hope that Harare's re-engagement with the West will yield positive results.