(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Sweden gets behind AIDS fund raising

Sweden is mobilising donors and other European countries to support Zimbabwe's fight against HIV/AIDS, Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Sten Rylander said on Friday.

Most Western donors froze aid to Zimbabwe after President Robert Mugabe's controversial fast-track land reform programme began in 2000, followed by reports of violence and intimidation during the 2000 and 2002 elections.

"We want to pool resources and channel them through the civil society organisations and the United Nations," Rylander told reporters in the capital, Harare, adding that the country's drop in HIV prevalence - from 24.6 percent in 2003 to 20.1 percent in 2005 - was a positive development that had to be sustained.

The ambassador recently urged Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to "mend fences" with the West in order to better address the issues of AIDS, the world's highest inflation rate and worsening poverty levels.

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