The U.N. human rights chief says Zimbabwe's president has acknowledged the nation faces "current problems" but blames influences of the past.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday that President Robert Mugabe attributed continuing economic and political woes to the nation's history.

Pillay, on a weeklong visit to assess human rights, said she had "an important meeting" with Mugabe, at his official State House offices in Harare. She said he outlined historical aspects affecting current events.

Pillay said she commended his recent calls for an end to political violence.

The 88-year-old president is widely seen as condoning human rights violations and has ruled since independence in 1980. He repeatedly accuses Western countries and Britain, the colonial power, of plotting to oust him.