Mugabe: Evil sanctions hurting Zim
Harare - President Robert Mugabe on Monday accused Western states of wanting to prolong the suffering of Zimbweans under "evil sanctions" while urging unity to foster the country's rebuilding.
"The European Union (EU) and America are keen to have our people continue suffering under the evil sanctions," the 86-year-old told thousands gathered at a shrine to honour heroes of the country's 1970s liberation war.
"We have sought to re-engage the EU on the issue of the immediate removal of the evil sanctions that are hurting our people. We seek friendship not enmity, togetherness not apartness, good understanding not division," said Mugabe.
"We appeal to them to please think again. Think again Europe, think again America, you are wrong."
Relations between Harare and the West have been tense for 10 years since elections marred by violence and widespread allegations of human rights abuses by Mugabe's government.
"This is our country together. We must speak with one loud voice and say sanctions must go," he told the crowd on the outskirts of the capital which included Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and government officials.
Mugabe called on Zimbabweans to shun petty squabbles and to join forces to rebuild the nation.
"Fighting must end," he said. "Shouting at each other must end so we can focus on our goals. Disharmony...does not augur well for our well-being as a nation."
The calls follow a campaign launched last year to foster national healing and unity among political rivals following a bloody presidential run-off in 2008.
The veteran leader said the campaign must not seek to prosecute perpetrators of violence.
"For the sake of our children and posterity, I urge all of you to note that the process of reconciliation is national," he said.
"It does not seek to ferret out supposed criminals for punishment but rather calls on all of us to avoid the deadly snare of political conflict."