Page last updated at 09:57 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Davos 2010: Zimbabwe 'needs reward for progress'

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai gestures during a press conference at the MDC party headquarters in Harare (16 Oct 2009)
Morgan Tsvangirai admitted working with Mr Mugabe was frustrating

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has urged the easing of targeted sanctions, saying there ought to be a reward for Zimbabwe's progress.

His party joined a unity government with President Robert Mugabe's nearly a year ago with the intention of easing the country's economic crisis.

He told the BBC at the World Economic Forum that he had come to Davos to clarify misconceptions about Zimbabwe.

He said the country was now on an "irreversible path to change".

"It's not as if I'm here as a salesman of Zimbabwe, I'm here to clarify certain misconceptions because I think there's been so much negative perception about Zimbabwe," he told the BBC's Today programme.

He appealed to investors to come and see for themselves how much progress had been made.

It is a very positive signal, very positive signal to those who doubt that they have anything to benefit from this inclusive government
Morgan Tsvangirai

He admitted there were still "incidents" and it was frustrating that agreements reached in principle with President Mugabe on the unity government were still not being carried out.

But he said he believed the level of political risk was far reduced from what it had been a year ago.

He admitted certain benchmarks still had to be reached and it was up to Western capitals to decide, but said there was a case for easing the West's targeted sanctions against his former opponents - to make them see that supporting Zimbabwe's unity government was worthwhile.

"It is a very positive signal, very positive signal to those who doubt that they have anything to benefit from this inclusive government," he said.

Mr Tsvangirai also said that he expected a referendum on a new constitution would lead to new elections next year and Zimbabwe's people could then elect a government of their choice.

However, public consultations on a new constitution were suspended last week.

The unity government has halted the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy by allowing the use of foreign currency but some former opposition activists say they are still being intimidated by Mr Mugabe's hardline supporters.

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