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British govt seeks better relations

New British High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Brian Donnely, said on Thursday that his government wanted to re-establish the friendly relations the two countries enjoyed before the current controversy over the land issue, news reports said. Donnely, who was presenting his credentials at State House in Harare, told reporters after a one-and-half-hour meeting with President Robert Mugabe that he conveyed to the Zimbabwean leader a message of friendship from British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Relations between the two countries have not been that cordial since 1997, when Blair spurned Mugabe’s request for Britain to honour its independence promise to fund land reforms. Following his re-election in May, Blair wrote a conciliatory letter to Mugabe, who had written to congratulate him, raising hopes that the two countries could be back on talking terms soon. “I am here to represent my country and give the position of Britain in line with what my prime minister has said in so far as working together to solve difficulties and differences between our countries,” Donnely was quoted saying. He said, however, that working with Zimbabwe did not mean that Britain had changed its position on fundamental issues.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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