Blair warns Mugabe on Zimbabwe democracy

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The Independent Online

Tony Blair has personally warned President Robert Mugabe that he wants to see a stable and democratic Zimbabwe.

The firm message was contained in a letter Mr Blair wrote to Mr Mugabe this week in reply to a letter from the Zimbabwean President congratulating him on his re-election as Prime Minister.

Mr Mugabe had asked Mr Blair to use his re-election as an opportunity to reopen dialogue with Zimbabwe to resolve the differences between the two countries.

And while the Prime Minister replied that he also hoped for "good relations" he suggested that he would not compromise British demands for free and fair elections and a stable economy. Britain has been frustrated by the economic turmoil in Zimbabawe and Mr Mugabe's failure to halt the intimidation of white-owned farms by his supporters.

Mr Blair wrote that he hoped future relations would be favourable between the two countries. He said in his letter, a copy of which has been shown to The Independent by other sources: "I share your desire for good relations between our two countries. Like you, I want to see a stable, prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe. We stand ready to play our part in helping Zimbabwe achieve these goals, as successive British governments have done since independence."

Relations between Britain and its former colony reached a low point last year when Mr Mugabe's militant war veteran supporters launched a campaign to invade and occupy white-owned farms.