19 Apr 2009

Rivals at Independence Day celebration together

5:49 am on 19 April 2009

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and his former rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, have attended an Independence Day celebration together for the first time.

The event was held at the national stadium in the capital, Harare, on Saturday to mark the 29th anniversary of the end to colonial rule.

Mr Mugabe repeated a call for Western countries to lift sanctions.

He told the crowd there was a "need for national healing to put behind the atmosphere of hostility and polarisation". He also said "an environment of tolerance" needed to be created.

A unity government has now been in place for two months. However, most outstanding issues between ZANU-PF and the MDC are unresolved.