Harare – The UN rights chief Navi Pillay on Friday urged Western countries to suspend sanctions on Zimbabwe and its President Robert Mugabe to give the country a chance to implement reforms.
"I would urge those countries that are currently applying sanctions on Zimbabwe to suspend them, at least until the conduct of the elections and related reforms are clear," she said in Harare after a five-day visit.
"Sanctions should be entirely suspended for people to entirely focus on economic issues that need to be addressed," she said.
During her visit, Pillay met with Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who joined the long-ruling Mugabe in a unity government formed in 2009 to halt election-linked bloodshed that killed more than 200 of the premier's supporters.
The unity government is meant to clear the way to new elections, but preparations are lagging years behind and no date has been set.
Western nations imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe following disputed presidential polls in 2002.
Mugabe, 88, has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.