Tsvangirai discusses aid

2009-06-07 16:29

The Hague -Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai launched a three-week trip to the west on Sunday and said he was seeking re-engagement, not touring with a "begging bowl" asking for aid.

Western leaders have long isolated Zimbabwe, accusing President Robert Mugabe of trampling on democracy and ruining a once-vibrant economy.

Mugabe is still in power as part of the coalition Tsvangirai joined in February.

In a clear signal that the European Union is going to keep pressure on the government Tsvangirai leads, Dutch development aid minister Bert Koenders said the bloc wanted to see clear progress on human rights, keeping a watchful eye on the security services and reforming the country's central bank before resuming aid.

"It is the agreement of the parties in Zimbabwe itself regarding human rights, security, economic policy and land survey that forms the basis for our future support," Koenders told reporters after meeting Tsvangira.

Tsvangirai said he hoped to get the green light for a new round of talks with the European Union at the end of his trip to discuss reforms and future aid.

"I did not come here with a begging bowl. Re-engagement is a process," he told reporters after meeting Koenders.

"We have been isolated for the last 10 years and re-engagement means ... our cooperation partners need to understand what we are doing ... and we also have to understand the concerns of our partners."

Tsvangirai's spokesperson James Maridadi said that Tsvangirai next travelled to the United States and planned to meet President Barack Obama on Friday. He also will meet officials at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund before returning to Europe.