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Russia's Lavrov Signs Deal, Lauds Zimbabwe's Mugabe

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has signed economic and cooperation deals in Zimbabwe while praising President Robert Mugabe as a "historic figure."

Lavrov signed a $3 billion investment deal with Mugabe that will allow Russian firms to help develop Zimbabwe's platinum resources.

The project is the largest single foreign investment in Zimbabwe since it gained independence in 1980.

Lavrov described Mugabe -- whose country has spent years under international economic sanctions because of alleged widespread human rights abuses -- as "a legend."

Lavrov added that economic sanctions by the United States, EU, and other Western countries against Russia "have no future."

Mugabe, who is 90 and has ruled Zimbabwe for 34 years, told Lavrov that the Western sanctions against Moscow are "illegal."

He said international sanctions must be approved by the UN.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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