Zimbabwe land claims 'just and reasonable'

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The Independent Online

ZIimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, said yesterday his government's programme to redistribute white-owned farms to blacks had been recognised around the world as just and reasonable.

In his opening address to parliament, Mr Mugabe promised to review the high fuel prices that sparked a national strike earlier this month. But he offered no other concession to reduce rising political tension in his country ahead of next year's presidential elections.

Mr Mugabe said his seizure of farms was part of a struggle for national sovereignty since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980. He said: "Today we face ever-mounting, insistent but legitimate expectations from our people for deliverables of independence."

Mr Mugabe said 100,000 households had benefited from the programme and that thousands more would also be resettled. He said the Organisation of African Unity, which was recently transformed into an African Union, had expressed support for his land reforms and his assertion that Britain had a responsibility to fund the programme. "There is unanimity that Britain has a definite colonial responsibility ... and that Zimbabwean land must come back to its people," he said.Reuters