Coalition government to remain in office – Tsvangirai

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told the Chinese Foreign Minister that the uneasy power-sharing pact with Robert Mugabe would continue as the country's fractious unity government passed its two-year mark.\r\n

"You may have come across or heard that it’s going to expire," Tsvangirai told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, referring to the power-sharing agreement.

"It has not expired. The inclusive government is there."

Mugabe has been pushing for new elections to follow the two-year anniversary of the compromise government despite a deadlock over a new constitution that was supposed to pave the way for the next polls.

"The inclusive government has made notable progress although it has been affected by lack of finance," Tsvangirai said.

"We hope that the current process of constitution-making will be completed soon."

Yang, who is visiting Zimbabwe to buttress ties between the two countries, had earlier met Mugabe and several government officials.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed the power-sharing government in 2009 to mend an economy ravaged by hyperinflation and avoid a descent into civil war in the aftermath of a bloody presidential run-off election.

As part of the pact, which set out a 24-month timeline for reforms, the parties agreed to draft a new constitution and amend media and electoral laws to ensure free and fair elections.

China’s foreign minister is pledging bolstered support for Zimbabwe to counter Western economic restrictions against top leadership in the southern African nation.

Minister Yan Jiechi said Friday that China plans to increase economic cooperation with its longtime African ally in mining, agriculture and other ventures. He met with President Robert Mugabe in Harare.

At the United Nations, China and Russia vetoed Western calls for full-scale U.N.-backed economic sanctions to protest Mugabe’s record of human and democratic rights violations over years of political and economic turmoil.

Mugabe thanked Yang for China’s training of his guerrillas to help in "demolishing colonialism" before independence from British colonial rule in 1980.