Continuing his diplomatic initiative to the West, Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met Monday in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel who promised more aid to Harare but said more reform is needed before Germany can directly fund his government.

Addressing a joint press conference with Tsvangirai after their meeting, Ms. Merkel described him as ?a symbol of the democratization? of Zimbabwe. She pledged funds to bolster the health and education systems, but said that for Germany to provide the direct "transitional support" Mr. Tsvangirai seeks, the democratic process must be reinforced.

Ms. Merkel acknowledged the accomplishments of the unity government, however, noting that inflation has returned to normal levels, while schools and hospitals have reopened. Mr. Tsvangirai said he was heartened by the support expressed by the German leader. 

Mr. Tsvangirai's visit to Germany follows a week?s stay in the United States where he was received by U.S. President Barack Obama who pledged US$73 million in assistance for such areas as health and education, but similarly indicated more reform on human rights and the rule of law is needed for Washington to directly fund the unity government. 

Minister of State Gorden Moyo, attached to Mr. Tsvangirai's office, said that despite the reluctance of Western countries to provide direct budgetary support, Tsvangirai?s initiative at this point may be considered to have been successful.

Political analyst George Mkwhanazi told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it is not surprising that the Western countries the prime minister has visited so far have insisted on seeing further reform before funding Harare.

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