Britain wants to see more reforms in Zimbabwe before it can consider large-scale aid for the shattered country, British officials said on Thursday. Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti held talks in London on Thursday with Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Africa Minister Mark Malloch-Brown — the first official meetings in nine years between ministers from the two countries.

400-million1The British ministers told Biti that “not only the UK but the international community as a whole needs to see significant further progress” in implementing a power-sharing agreement, a senior British official said. Malloch-Brown told Biti that Britain would like to see a “road map” setting out actions and target dates for implementing a power-sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, the official said.

“A road map of some sort … would be a useful means of continuing to give the international community confidence in the momentum behind the change that’s going on,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said. Zimbabwe’s new unity government has appealed for international help to rebuild the economy after a decade of economic contraction, hyperinflation and chronic shortages of basic goods. It says it needs about $8.3 billion for the task.

However, a second senior British official said it was too early for Britain to give extensive development aid. “We cannot at this stage simply go straight into general budget support or some broader development relationship with Zimbabwe because too much of Zimbabwe is still broken,” the official said.



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