Britain urges free and fair elections next year in Zimbabwe

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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that the United Kingdom is ready to help stabilise Zimbabwe’s economy, but wants to do so in context of democratic progress.

He told reporters that Britain could take steps to stabilise Zimbabwe’s currency system and extend a bridging loan to help it clear World Bank and African Development Bank arrears, but such support depends on how the democratic process unfolds.

Zimbabwe’s current President Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in last week.

Johnson says, “I also think it’s urgent that we seize on this moment of hope. The Mugabe regime is gone, but let’s not just has a transition from one form of undemocratic regime to another.”

“Let’s have free and fair elections next year, and really see if we can make some progress,” Johnson said on Wednesday on the side-lines of an African Union-EU summit in Abidjan.”

Zimbabwe is due to hold elections in 2018.

President Robert Mugabe was forced to resign after 37 years in power last week under pressure from the army and ruling Zanu-PF party.

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