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Tsvangirai meets Australian PM


CANBERRA — Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has described her Zimbabwean counterpart as “a tireless champion of democracy” ahead of his official three-day visit to Canberra.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met that country’s opposition Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop in Sydney yesterday before flying to Canberra. He will then hold talks with Gillard at Parliament House this morning.

“Prime Minister Tsvangirai is a very welcome visitor to Australia,” a spokeswoman for Gillard said in a statement.

“He has been a tireless champion of democracy and freedom in Zimbabwe and remains so today as a leading figure in the inclusive government.”

Australia is the third largest bilateral donor to Zimbabwe after the United States and the United Kingdom. Canberra’s assistance is focused on water and sanitation and promoting economic growth.

Tsvangirai will meet with AusAID’s director general later today before he delivers a lunchtime speech.
Tomorrow the Zimbabwean PM will hold talks with Trade minister Craig Emerson.

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