April 19, 2018 / 11:44 PM / in 6 months

UK, African ministers set to discuss Zimbabwe's possible readmittance to Commonwealth

LONDON (Reuters) - British foreign minister Boris Johnson will meet his Zimbabwean counterpart Sibusiso Moyo and ministers from neighbouring African states for talks on Friday expected to include Harare’s possible readmittance to the Commonwealth.

FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa greets supporters of his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) party at a rally in Harare, Zimbabwe March 7, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

Zimbabwe left the group in 2003 after former president Robert Mugabe was criticized over disputed elections and violent seizures of white-owned farms.

Friday’s talks will take place on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting being held in London.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over when Mugabe quit after nearly four decades in power following a de facto military coup last November, has said he wants Zimbabwe to rejoin the organisation of 53 mostly former territories of the British Empire.

Johnson has previously said Zimbabwe’s Commonwealth readmittance would be a “fine and noble aspiration” for both parties, but that it must hold free and fair election first and also prove it meets the organisation’s standards on the rule of law, democracy and human rights.

Speaking earlier this week, he praised the country’s progress under Mnangagwa but said there was still much to do.

Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison

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