Mugabe says he is ready to work with Obama and might say same to his successor

HARARE, – Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, whose government is under sanctions by Washington, says he is ready to work with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to improve ties.

In a congratulatory message to Obama, Mugabe made no reference to the travel and economic sanctions imposed on his ZANU-PF leadership over charges of election rigging and human rights abuses, or to a deadlock with the Zimbabwe opposition over a power-sharing deal.

"As the government and people of Zimbabwe join you in celebrating this event in the history of the USA, I take this opportunity to assure you…that the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe remains ready to engage your government in any desirable endeavour to improve bilateral relations," he said.

The United States under President George W. Bush joined the European Union and other Western powers in an international campaign to isolate Mugabe over his increasingly controversial rule.

But Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980, says the West is driving a "racist plot" to oust him over his seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks.

Mugabe has seen of four United States Presidents – Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Bil Clinton, George Bush and might live to send a congradulatory message to Obama’s successor.

Many analysts blame the farm seizures for an acute economic crisis that he left the southern African country with severe food shortages and the world’s highest inflation rate of more than 230 million percent.