British ambassador to Zim lauds Robert Mugabe

Britain's new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing, says Robert Mugabe is an iconic figure.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Britain's new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing, says the Southern African country's president Robert Mugabe is an iconic figure, revealing her excitement after she met the veteran leader in person in Harare.

Laing, who recently presented her credentials to Mugabe at State House, told the country's state-owned Herald that Mugabe is one of the few African leaders who is well known in her country.

"He's obviously a very iconic figure. He's one of the few presidents with more academic accolades than many on the African continent."

Her praise comes just a few weeks after Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov also hailed Mugabe as an "African legend and historic figure".

Diplomatic ties between Britain and Zimbabwe have been fractious for over a decade now following the launch of a controversial land reform programme by Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party.

The programme saw thousands of white farmers being evicted from their farms.