US presidential poll will not affect ties KILASA MTAMBALIKE Daily News; Wednesday,September 03, 2008 @00:02 Results of the US presidential elections later in the year would not have any impact on the relations between Tanzania and the US, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe said yesterday. Mr Membe said that Tanzania and the US would continue to enjoy good ties regardless of the party and candidates that would assume office after the elections. We have good relations because the American government has confidence in the way the government is managing donor funds, especially that provided by the US, he said. Thus we dont expect a shift in policy or a slowdown in the implementation of agreements already reached, he said. The minister was briefing reporters of the recent visit by President Jakaya Kikwete to the US. The president returned home on Monday after a three day visit. America has confidence in Tanzania and in the president because he has invested in people and is using donor funds for their intended purposes, he said. He said that after US President George Bush asked the senate to pass a package to assist Tanzania in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the current Democrats running mate, Senator Joe Biden, supported the move and wanted the package to be increased. The current Bush administration is Republican and supports Republican hopeful Senator John McCain whereas Senator Biden is Senator Barack Obamas running mate. Mr Membe further said that the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mr Dominique Strauss-Khan also expressed confidence by the countrys managing of donor funds. As a result, he said, Mr Strauss-Khan asked President Kikwete if Tanzania could host a meeting in March next year to discuss the role of the institution in the African continent and the way forward and the president agreed. The meeting was earlier scheduled for November this year but due to unavoidable circumstances it will be held in March next year and we expect many dignitaries to come to Tanzania then, he said. On Zimbabwe, Mr Membe said that President Kikwete, as Chairperson of the African Union, did discuss with President Bush on the issue and it was agreed that there is still a stalemate. The recent Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) meeting in Johannesburg failed to come to a conclusive decision because the opposition did not agree with the power sharing formula, he said. Mr Membe also talked on Tanzanias membership in the East African Community (EAC) and SADC, saying that the government will see how it can harmonize tariffs so as to have the common tariffs on the two blocs. He admitted that failure to do so would pose problems in the future as each of the two blocs is geared towards forming its own customs union.