Germany Keen on Tsvangirai Visit

GERMANY, BERLIN – Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will be received with full military honours during a visit next week, Berlin said on Wednesday, as the two countries seek to rebuild bilateral ties.

Tsvangirai, who became prime minister in a power sharing deal with rival Robert Mugabe in February, will be hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks on Monday, deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg told a regular briefing.

Acknowledging that relations between the two countries cooled significantly during Mugabe’s rule, Steg said: "We hope that we can open a new chapter in our bilateral relations with the government of Morgan Tsvangirai.

"The federal government has always made clear that it is open and ready to work closely together with Morgan Tsvangirai’s government," Steg added.

Tsvangirai’s trip to Berlin follows a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House on June 12.

Ahead of the trip Tsvangirai said he would be looking for assistance from the international community as his country seeks to emerge from years of economic chaos, which has seen rampant inflation and forced many Zimbabweans to flee the country.

Berlin and Washington have drawn a clear distinction in their treatment of the two Zimbabwean leaders.

Both the European Union and the United States maintain a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe, his wife and inner circle in protest at controversial elections and alleged human rights abuses by his government. (AFP)