Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe called for an end to political violence and committed himself to constitutional reforms before fresh elections.
“We are one,” Mugabe said in a speech in the capital, Harare, to mark Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980. “We may have our differences but we belong to one family. Please, no violence, no fighting.”
While the power-sharing government between Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party and Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change has often come close to breaking down, it helped lift the southern African nation’s economy out of a decade of recession.
The coalition government brought political and economic stability to the country, he said. Tsvangirai and officials from his party also attended the Independence Day rally.
Southern African Development Community leaders on April 1 demanded an end to renewed fighting between the parties and called for lawmakers to complete a new constitution and prepare for elections. The MDC accuses Zanu-PF of preventing it from holding rallies.
The U.S. and Europe Union weren’t prepared to discuss lifting of sanctions, Mugabe said.
“We have had disappointing results so far in our efforts to re-engage the Americans and the European Union over sanctions,” he said. “When will Europe ever realize that there is international law which forbids us from interfering in the domestic affairs of others?”
The U.S. and EU impose targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his political allies.
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