Monday, August 23, 2010

Gaddafi's son visits Zimbabwe

Gaddafi's son visits Zimbabwe

2010-08-24 07:30
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Harare - The son of longtime Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi is coming to assess Libyan investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, an indication the two estranged rogue states are mending relations.Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said on Monday that businessman and former professional soccer player Saadi Gaddafi would be looking at tourism and other sectors. Gaddafi will also meet longtime Zimbabwe ruler President Robert Mugabe during a five-day trip this week, Mzembi said.While Libya-Zimbabwe relations have been strained for several years, Mzembi said Zimbabwe now was focused on recovery."We want investors," he said.In 2002, at the height of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown, lines of vehicles snaked around streets leading to gas stations in Zimbabwe and Libya was hailed as coming to the rescue with fuel.But Libya's patience ran out when Zimbabwe didn't pay its debt. It cut its gasoline supplies and sent officials to take possession of platinum and other minerals and assets in Zimbabwe.Relations deteriorated further when Libya befriended Western countries two decades after a Libyan bomb brought down an American airliner over Lockerbie in Scotland. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, an arch foe of Mugabe, travelled to Tripoli and shook hands with Gaddafi in 2007.The photograph of the handshake irked Mugabe and his party. Mugabe says travel, banking and other sanctions imposed by the British and other Western governments ruined his economy. Western nations said the measures were meant to protest human rights violations and the often violent seizures of thousands of white-owned farms that have disrupted the agriculture based economy since 2000.

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