As Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai concluded his Western tour Friday in France, President Robert Mugabe criticized Mr. Tsvangirai and his Western interlocutors for refusing to lift sanctions him and many senior officials of his long-ruling ZANU-PF party.
In an interview broadcast on state television, Mr. Mugabe chided Mr. Tsvangirai over his high-level contacts with leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama, saying “these that you call your friends” were “imperialists” who could never be friends of “people that desire...freedom.”
Other ZANU-PF officials, speaking through state media, have been critical of Mr. Tsvangirai’s just-ending three-week Western tour, during which he re-engaged Western governments and sought reconstruction aid. Mr. Obama and other Western leaders said development aid depends on reform in human rights and the rule of law, among other issues.
Mr. Mugabe said Zimbabwe would seek assistance from “friendly nations,” presumably in the Far East where he turned to after relations with the West soured in the past decade.
Harare-based independent political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Mugabe’s attack on the West was nothing but the typical propaganda to which he resorts when things are not going well for him.
In Paris, meanwhile, Mr. Tsvangirai met with the French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, among other senior officials, having met Prime Minister François Fillon on Thursday.
Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told reporter Brenda Moyo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the possibility of debt forgiveness came up in meetings.
Vice President Joyce Mujuru was also on the road this week, appealing to the United Nations for unconditional financial aid during a conference on the global financial crisis. She said such support was essential if the country's struggling economy was to be restarted.
Regional Coordinator Glen Mpani of the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa, said Harare has no choice but to the implement wide-ranging reform demanded by donor nations if it wants their expanded assistance.
More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...