Mugabe and Tsvangirai meeting 'positive' – UN

Harare – A top UN aid official said she had held positive talks with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai about finding ways to combat a raging cholera epidemic and food shortages, state media said on Tuesday.

Catherine Bragg, the assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs, met on Monday with Mugabe and new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the long-time opposition leader who joined a unity government this month.

She said her five-member team was focusing on the cholera epidemic that has so far killed 3 806 people and spilled into neighbouring countries.

"We are focusing on cholera and any other form of humanitarian assistance the UN can offer… We will assist to the best of our abilities," she said, according to The Herald newspaper.

During the meeting with Mugabe, "we talked of the continuing partnership between the UN and the government. The president spoke positively. He invited me back", she said.

Bragg said she had met ministers of labour, education, health, agriculture and foreign affairs as well as aid agencies working in the country.

Zimbabwe’s shattered economy has made it harder to deal with the growing humanitarian crisis in the country.

A report issued last week by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the country had the health system of a country at war.

The country that was once a food exporter now has nearly seven million people dependent on food aid. – AFP