Obama Pledges $73M To Zimbabwe

Following talks with Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the White House Friday, President Obama pledged $73 million in aid to the country, AFP/Google.com reports (Carmichael, AFP/Google.com, 6/13).  The U.S. aid, however “will not be going to the government directly because we continue to be concerned about consolidating democracy, human rights and rule of law,” Obama said (Stolberg, New York Times, 6/13), but channeled through appropriate aid agencies (ZimOnline, 6/15).

“The president, President Mugabe, I think I’ve made my views clear, has not acted, oftentimes, in the best interests of the Zimbabwean people and has been resistant to the kinds of democratic changes that need to take place,” Obama said. Regardless, “[t]he people of Zimbabwe need very concrete things: schools that are reopened, a health-care-delivery system that can deal with issues like cholera or HIV/AIDS, an agricultural system that is able to feed its people,” he said (Fletcher, “44,” Washington Post, 6/12).

“Of course we need billions of dollars, but as far as we are concerned, this is the step in the right direction,” Tsvangirai told reporters after meeting with Obama, adding, “It is an endorsement of confidence in the process. It is an appreciation that whatever we do to improve our conditions must be rewarded because that is how you consolidate the process” (AFP/Google.com, 6/13). During a meeting between Tsvangirai and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday, Clinton said she wants “to look for ways that [the U.S.] appropriately can be supportive” after acknowledging the steps Tsvangirai’s government was making “to move Zimbabwe forward into a better future” (Carmichael, AFP/Google.com, 6/12).

Tsvangirai will travel this week to “Germany, France and other European countries to continue diplomatic re-engagement and make the case for transitional support to Harare,” VOA News reports (Zulu, VOA News, 6/12).

Zimbabwe To Add Three Male Circumcision Clinics By End Of June

The ZimDiaspora examines the opening of several male circumcision clinics this month in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV in the country.  “Studies which have been done have shown that circumcision reduces the spread of HIV by up to 60 percent and a number of countries have embraced male circumcision as a strategy to control the spread of HIV,” said Minister of Health and Child Welfare Henry Madzorera. In the lead up to the opening of the clinics by the end of the month, the Ministry of Health is “training doctors and other health practitioners on how to use surgical equipment during circumcision,” ZimDiaspora writes (ZimDiaspora, 6/11).

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