President Robert Mugabe says Zimbabwe’s first high-level talks with top EU officials in seven years went well.

After the talks, in Harare, he again called for international sanctions imposed since disputed presidential election in 2002 to be lifted.

The EU team also praised the meeting but indicated it was not appropriate yet for sanctions to end and complained about the slow pace of reforms.

The EU team later met PM Morgan Tsvangirai.

‘Good rapport’

Before going into the talks with the EU team, Mr Mugabe said: “We welcome you with open arms. We hope our talks will be fruitful with a positive outcome.”

When he reappeared after they ended, he told the BBC the talks had gone well.

He said: “We established a good rapport, it was a friendly meeting. Obviously they thought the Global Political Agreement was not working well.”

The Global Political Agreement is the power-sharing deal that was sealed a year ago, most importantly with Mr Tsvangirai.

Mr Mugabe said that “everything we were asked to do under GPA we have done”.

The EU team, led by Development Commissioner Karel De Gucht, expressed satisfaction with the talks, saying there had been “progress” in a “very open atmosphere”.

But the BBC’s Andrew Harding, in Harare, says the EU team also pointed out the problems it had with the current situation.

The team, which has described the visit as an attempt to reopen political dialogue with Zimbabwe, said it was not appropriate to lift sanctions at the moment or for major aid to start.

Mr de Gucht said he hoped the president realised the need for “more understanding between the three principals – himself, the prime minister and the vice-prime minister”.

Our correspondent says that one year on from the announcement of power-sharing, there remain serious doubts about human rights, the stalling of political reform and the good faith of President Mugabe and his supporters.

In a speech a day before meeting the delegation, Mr Mugabe had lashed out at the Western sanctions, accusing whites of wanting to “poke their nose into own our own affairs”.

“We have stood firm and we have refused to let go. Zimbabwe – sanctions or no sanctions, Zimbabwe remains ours,” he told a meeting of his Zanu-PF youth wing in Harare.

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