20 Jun 2009

Call for Zimbabwe exiles to return

9:25 pm on 20 June 2009

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is visiting the UK, where he is expected to meet Zimbabwean exiles and urge them to return home.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Mr Tsvangirai said the country needed the exiles' skills and money to help to rebuild Zimbabwe.

His UK visit is the final stage of a tour of Europe and the US.

He has been seeking funding for the unity government he formed with President Robert Mugabe in February.

But the European Union still holds sanctions against Zimbabwe, and EU leaders have told him they want to see improvements in the human rights situation in the country before they consider lifting them.

The Foreign Office in London has sounded a similar note, with minister Lord Malloch Brown saying sanctions would not be lifted until Zimbabwe's transition to democracy has "reached a point of no return".

Mr Tsvangirai is expected to hold talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday.