Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Saturday, 18 April 2009 16:23 UK

Mugabe calls for national healing


Mugabe addresses crowds at national stadium

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe called for "national healing" as he appeared at an independence event with his rival, the current prime minister.

"We need tolerance...irrespective of political or religious affiliation," said Mr Mugabe at the national stadium.

Washington has praised Zimbabwe's unity government for the progress which it says it has made towards reform.

But the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, made no mention about lifting US or international sanctions.

She made the remarks in a statement to mark Zimbabwe's 29th year of independence from Britain.

But correspondents say tensions remain over February's power-sharing deal.

Earlier this week the former opposition party, the MDC, whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai is now prime minister, criticised President Mugabe for reportedly taking away MDC control over the state-owned telecommunications companies.

Mr Mugabe has called for all economic sanctions by the European Union and the US be lifted against his country.

The US and EU have insisted that concrete signs of progress in the unity government and around the rule of law are seen first.

However, on Thursday Washington lifted travel warnings on Zimbabwe, issued to Americans in 2002.

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