Mugabe: Zimbabwe Wants 'Cooperative' Relations With West
Mugabe: Zimbabwe Wants 'Cooperative' Relations With West
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Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe says his country is ready for improved ties with Western nations that have strongly condemned his rule.

In a speech to parliament Tuesday, Mr. Mugabe said Zimbabwe is in a "positive stance" to begin "fresh and cooperative relations" with countries that have been hostile in the past.

Western nations have generally shunned Mr. Mugabe for a decade, blaming his policies and corruption in his government for the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy.

The U.S., Britain, and other countries maintain travel and financial sanctions on the president and his close associates.

Relations have shown signs of improving since Mr. Mugabe entered into a unity government with longtime opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February.

Last month, the European Union sent its first high-level delegation to Zimbabwe in seven years.

In his speech Tuesday, Mr. Mugabe said Zimbabwe's relations with the EU are "gaining momentum."  He added that Zimbabwe expects Western nations to remove the sanctions as what he called the "re-engagement" continues.

Zimbabwe's government has appealed for up to $10 billion to rebuild the economy, ravaged by years of food shortages and hyperinflation.

The U.S. and other countries have so far committed only small amounts of aid, saying they want to see wide-ranging political and economic reforms before giving larger amounts.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.