Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe After Meeting
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 12, 2009
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PRIME MINISTER TSVANGIRAI
OF ZIMBABWE AFTER MEETING
Oval Office 4:04 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to welcome Prime Minister Tsvangirai to the Oval Office. He and his delegation have been meeting with my team throughout the day. I obviously have extraordinary admiration for the courage and the tenacity that the Prime Minister has shown in navigating through some very difficult political times in Zimbabwe.
There was a time when Zimbabwe was the bread basket of Africa and continues to have enormous potential. It has gone through a very dark and difficult period politically. The President -- President Mugabe -- I think I've made my views clear, has not acted oftentimes in the best interest of the Zimbabwean people and has been resistant to the kinds of democratic changes that need to take place.
We now have a power-sharing agreement that shows promise, and we want to do everything we can to encourage the kinds of improvement not only on human rights and rule of law, freedom of the press and democracy that is so necessary, but also on the economic front. The people of Zimbabwe need very concrete things -- schools that are reopened, a health care delivery system that can deal with issues like cholera or HIV/AIDS, an agricultural system that is able to feed its people. And on all these fronts, I think the Prime Minister is committed to significant concrete improvement in the day-to-day lives of the people of Zimbabwe.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai and President Obama Exchange Gifts
Washington – 12 June 2009
President Barack Obama has acknowledged Prime Minister Tsvangirai's non-violent fight for freedom in a profound way. In keeping with diplomatic etiquette where leaders exchange gifts as a sign of friendship and goodwill, protocol officers and security details of Prime Minister Tsvangirai and President Obama exchanged the two leaders’ gifts in a private ceremony at the Prime Minister's suite this afternoon.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai presented Zimbabwean traditional sculpture and artefacts crafted by Victoria Falls sculptors for President Obama and a wrapper with a head and shoulders picture of his late wife Susan for Mrs Obama.
In return, President Obama presented a first edition copy of Stride Toward Freedom, a book written by American Civil Rights Leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To cap it all, the book was personally autographed by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself. The full title of the book is, A Leader of his People TellsThe Montgomery Story, Stride Toward Freedom.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai Meets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Washington 12 June 2009
UNITED States of America Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday said the US is ready to explore new ways through which to re-engage and assist Zimbabwe.
Speaking with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at Capitol Hill, Clinton said it was regrettable that people have had to suffer in Zimbabwe. She said her government was ready to support Tsvangirai’s efforts to reconstruct and restore Zimbabwe to its former glory.
Responding to Clinton, Tsvangirai said things were changing slowly in Zimbabwe but the country was by no means out of the woods, adding his co-operation with his former sworn enemy, Zanu PF, was purely in the interest of Zimbabwe as a nation.
He also said there was need for the donor community to build on the current emphasis of humanitarian assistance to transitional support.
Tsvangirai, who has been well received in the United States on his first overseas visit since he became Prime Minister, discussed with Clinton Zimbabwe’s progress since the inclusive government was established and other issues.
The delegation also discussed the situation with Johnnie Carson, the newly-appointed Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs.
Travel Diary: Our Correspondent Updates His Report from Washington, D.C.
Washington O900 hrs 11 June 2009
MORE DETAILS ON MEETINGS SO FAR
Prime Minister Tsvangirai has explained to the various leaders and policymakers with whom he has met that the main purpose of his tour is to give the world an assurance that Zimbabwe is anxious to be trusted once again as a member of the family of progressive nations which uphold the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, media freedom and all other issues around human rights. This, he said, would form the basis upon which the country could be re-engaged by both bilateral and multilateral partners such as the international financial institutions.
As mentioned in a previous update, the Prime Minister and his delegation of Ministers Elton Mangoma, Walter Muzembi and Priscilla Misihairambwi – Mushonga, held high level meetings with the Bretton Woods Institutions. In their meeting with International Monetary Fund (IMF), officials indicated that in line with their Article 4, the fund would undertake in the next two weeks a second visit to Zimbabwe to see if the country had stayed on course since their first visit in March 2009. The visit is meant to analyse economic fundamentals and assist with the restoration of the integrity of the banking system.
Travel Diary: Our Correspondent Reports from Washington, D.C.
Washington 2000 hrs 10 June 2009
HISTORIC WHITE HOUSE MEETING GATHERS MOMENTUM
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told the Council on Foreign Relations that Zimbabwe's full cabinet approved a policy of international re-engagement in order to become a member of the family of nations once again following years of isolation. The Council on Foreign Relations is a Washington-based think-tank which seeks to promote discussions around US foreign policy.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister answered questions from journalists and foreign policy experts of different backgrounds such as a West African diplomatic based in Washington, who defied the usual protocol and diplomatic etiquette and openly congratulated Prime Minister Tsvangirai, saying that he had outperformed all Heads of State and Government who have spoken at such Forums before.
Travel Diary: Our Correspondent Reports from the Netherlands
The Hague, Netherlands, 1200 hrs 8/06/09
VIP RECEPTION FOR PRIME MINISTER TSVANGIRAI IN THE NETHERLANDS
If the red carpet VIP reception accorded Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai by His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende of The Kingdom of Netherlands at No. 20 Binnenhof, in The Hague (the equivalent of Munhumutapa Building in Harare) is indicative of the substance of the two’s 45 minute tête-a tête, then undoubtedly Prime Minister Tsvangirai is a bearer of glad
tidings to his countrymen.
“We have begun the process of re-engagement with the international community,” he said. “Members of the inclusive government are traveling together to meet key world leaders on behalf of the Zimbabwean people. The time is now to end this crisis. We must continue to stabilize our economy, restore our freedoms and basic services, rebuild our country, and heal our society,” he said.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai Upbeat about Transitional Support Ahead of Trip
Harare 6/6/2009 1245
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai left Harare 6 June 2009, on a tour of Scandinavia, Europe and the United States of America. He is accompanied by Ministers Hon. Priscilla Misihairambwi- Mushonga of Regional Integration and International Cooperation (MDC-M), Hon. Walter Muzembi of Tourism and Hospitality Industry (ZANU PF), and Hon. Elton Mangoma of Economic Promotion and Investment (MDC-T).
Prime Minister Tsvangirai said his trip was part of his 100-Day Plan to have Zimbabwe re-admitted as a member of the family of nations and put to an end years of international isolation as an essential step to reviving the country's collapsed economy. He expressed confidence that his efforts to re-engage world leaders would see the country receive the transitional support crucial for achieving economic stabilisation and service delivery targets of the Inclusive Government.