Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has congratulated US president-elect Barack Obama on his election, saying he is prepared to work with the new US government to improve relations between Washington and Harare, the state-owned Herald reported Friday.
Relations between Zimbabwe and US have been strained over the past eight years as Washington and other Western powers accuse Mugabe of being responsible for Zimbabwe's political and economic meltdown, reported dpa.
"I take this opportunity to assure you, Mr President-Elect, that the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe remains ready to engage your government in any desirable endeavour to improve our bilateral relations," Mugabe is quoted by the Herald as saying.
"Mr President-elect, the challenges that now lie ahead of you are enormous and those of us in the small and developing countries cherish the hope of working with your administration as we pursue our programmes and policies to develop our societies in the global context of socio-economic interaction."
There has been renewed hope in Harare that relations with Washington will improve following Obama's election as the first black US president on Tuesday.
But when asked by reporters on Wednesday whether Washington would immediately change its policy on Zimbabwe and lift sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his cronies, James MacGee, the US ambassador to Zimbabwe said: "No, of course not. That will not happen."
Meanwhile, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe boss Gideon Gono has issued a statement saying the bank had paid back the 6.5 million dollars it owed the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The statement said the bank had provided "proof" to the United Nations it had repaid the money that was intended for malaria prevention but disappeared from RBZ coffers.
On Thursday the Global Fund had issued the bank with a stern warning to repay the money or forfeit new lines of funding. The UN or Global Fund were not immediately available to confirm that the money had been repaid.