Australia pledges co-op with South Africa in support of Zimbabwe

20:42, January 28, 2010      

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Australia has pledged to work with South Africa in supporting recovery efforts in Zimbabwe, the local media reported on Thursday.

Citing Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith, the Herald reported that Australia was impressed by the progress that South Africa and the country's inclusive government had made in improving livelihoods and economic conditions in the country.

"South African efforts to see progress in Zimbabwe have encouraged the Australian government to partner it and we are keen to step up trilateral cooperation in support of recovery efforts in Zimbabwe," Smith said in Pretoria after meeting his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana Mashabane on Tuesday.

He announced that Australia would extend 6 million U.S. dollars to support Zimbabwe's economic turnaround efforts.

He said by working with South Africa, Australia could help Zimbabwe to rebuild and secure a bright future.

He added that Australia, which imposed sanctions on the country along with Western countries, had agreed to help Zimbabwe with taxation laws and water and sanitation technical expertise.

South Africa is facilitating inter-party talks to iron out outstanding issues to the Global Political Agreement that Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe signed with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara on Sept. 15, 2008.

The GPA paved the way for the formation of the inclusive government last February.

Since the formation of the government, relations between Zimbabwe and countries that imposed sanctions on it have slightly thawed, as seen by the lifting of travel warnings against Zimbabwe.

Australia, the United States, Germany, Britain, Canada, Norway, Sweden and Japan lifted the travel warnings which they had imposed at the height of political strife in the country.

Consequently, the country is expecting tourist arrivals to significantly improve since most of these countries constitute major tourist source markets for Zimbabwe.

The country recorded a 2.8 percent increase in tourist arrivals in the first half of 2009, compared with the same period of the previous year.

Source: Xinhua
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