Zimbabwean PM To Meet With Clinton, Obama In Appeal For Foreign Aid

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met with U.S. lawmakers in Washington, D.C., Wednesday in an attempt to secure donations for a country in economic collapse, ZimOnline reports. Tsvangirai’s visit is part of “a three-week trip to America and Europe to try to drum up financial support for the power-sharing government,” entered into with his political rival, President Robert Mugabe in February, according to ZimOnline (ZimOnline, 6/11). 

Tsvangirai will meet with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday before meeting President Barack Obama on Friday, VOA News reports (Zulu/Chiripasi, VOA News, 6/10). SAPA/News24 writes, “Obama and Tsvangirai will ‘discuss the difficult road ahead in Zimbabwe, including how the United States can support the forces of reform as they work to bring the rule of law, respect for human rights, and free and fair elections back to Zimbabwe,’ the White House said” (SAPA/News24.com, 6/9).

“It will be important for the U.S. to give transitional support to us, because the alternative” – such as an increase in hyperinflation, poverty and violence – “is too ghastly if we fail,” Tsvangirai said (Magee, Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal, 6/10). Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has led to a breakdown of basic social services in the country, complicated by a cholera crisis that has infected about 100,000 people and killed more than 4,200. In early June, the U.N. increased its appeal for foreign aid from $550 million to $718 million to meet Zimbabwe’s growing humanitarian crisis (Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, 6/2).

However, U.S. leaders are hesitant, Reuters reports. “The top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Johnnie Carson, said this week that Washington was troubled by the absence of reform in Zimbabwe and had no plans for now to offer major aid or lift sanctions against Mugabe. Western aid is only beginning to trickle in – and all of it is bypassing the government,” writes Reuters (Reuters, 6/10).

NPR’s All Things Considered examines the task ahead of Tsvangirai in convincing U.S. leaders to “to lift sanctions and put some trust in his power-sharing arrangement” (Kelemen, NPR, 6/10).

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