Da Mail & Guardian del 27/07/2005
Originale su http://www.mg.co.za/articlepage.aspx?area=/breaking_news/breaking_news...

Mugabe lauds 'brotherly friend' China

Beijing, China - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday said he was overjoyed at his red carpet welcome by China, as other countries pressed for a United Nations Security Council meeting on his slum demolition drive.

Mugabe is on a six-day visit to China and has been warmly greeted as "an old friend" by President Hu Jintao.

At the same time, Britain was urging a Security Council meeting on his slum demolition campaign as United Nations chief Kofi Annan ruled out a visit there until Harare ended its evictions and allowed humanitarian aid in.

Council members said Harare's campaign of razing townships has left 700 000 Zimbabweans homeless and destitute and affected a further 2,4-million, but there was no consensus on holding formal consultations.

Diplomats said that China, one of the few countries to publicly back his drive to demolish illegal housing in his homeland, was one of the countries who expressed reluctance to have a formal debate on the issue.

In Beijing, Mugabe on Wednesday met parliamentary chief Wu Bangguo, who voiced support for Zimbabwe's land reform programmes on a visit to Harare last year.

Wu said on Wednesday his visit and talks with Mugabe last November had left him with "a deep impression", and he embraced the frail-looking Zimbabwe leader.

"May I begin by also expressing my gratitude and appreciation for the very warm welcome that we have had as a team since our arrival and for the excellent facilities laid at our disposal," Mugabe told Wu.

During talks, the two sides have signed agreements covering economic and technical cooperation, including the supply of computer equipment.

A memorandum of understanding was also penned between China's Ministry of Justice and Zimbabwe's Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, although no details were given.

"We have had excellent discussions, excellent in the sense that what were still ideas formulated in a draft form in some cases have now become real agreements ...," said Mugabe.

"We have appended our signatures to them and we are very very happy that we have done this to cement our relations with a great friend, historical friend, brotherly friend, and that is the People's Republic of China."

Observers have said Mugabe's main purpose in visiting Beijing was to plead for oil and loans to aid his state's failing economy, although no details have been released on any agreements.

He is aiming to fulfill his "Look East" policy of fostering better relations with Asian nations following sanctions and isolation from other parts of the world.

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