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Zimbabwe does not need Western aid: Mugabe

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(HARARE) - President Robert Mugabe said Zimbabwe does not need Western aid to revive its shattered economy, after the EU demanded more progress in making human rights and political reforms, state media said Friday.

"Zimbabwe shall recover by her wits and resources," Mugabe said in the state-run Herald newspaper.

"Zimbabwe will not be saved by any country or organisation, least of all Western. Let our partners in the inclusive government get that, so we do not waste our efforts on useless initiatives," he told his ZANU-PF party's central committee.

His comments came a week after members of Zimbabwe's unity government returned from a meeting with European Union officials in Brussels to try to mend strained relations.

Ties have been tense for 10 years since elections marred by violence and widespread allegations of human rights abuses by Mugabe's government.

In February, the EU renewed sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle for another year, citing a lack of progress in implementing political and human rights reforms.

Mugabe also accused Western countries of pressuring international diamond regulator, the Kimberley Process, to bar Zimbabwe's exports of the gems.

The Kimberley Process "is not a human rights organisation," he said. "Yet this is what the United States of America, Canada and Australia would want it to be -- not for all times, not in all cases, but only and simply for Zimbabwe."

"We have been put in the dock because these same countries have imposed illegal sanctions on us for total ruin," he said.

Kimberley members are deadlocked on whether to allow exports from Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields, where the regulator says the military has committed serious abuses against civilian workers.

Although a monitor tasked with evaluating Zimbabwe has given his all-clear, rights groups say abuses are continuing while a top activist in Marange has been arrested.

New talks on Zimbabwe diamonds are set for Wednesday in Saint Petersburg.

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