Friday, May 26, 2006


Zimbabwe rejects UN intervention.

See Mbeki interview

Zimbabwe's government has denied suggestions that the United Nations might play a key role in ending the economic and political crises. Spokesman George Charamba was reacting to remarks by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

A senior UN official said it would be "premature" to talk of UN intervention. Mr Mbeki said a proposed visit by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Zimbabwe could help normalise relations between Harare and the West. But Mr Charamba said there were no longer plans for Mr Annan to visit. "I am unaware of any UN intervention on Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is not a UN issue," he told the state-owned Herald newspaper.

"What I am aware of is a stale invitation, which was extended to the UN secretary-general by President Robert Mugabe at the time of the clean-up operation," he said, referring to last year's programme in which the government destroyed homes and removed informal traders.

Annual inflation is more than 1,000%. Mr Charamba said Zimbabwe is under illegal sanctions, from the European Union and United States as the result of its land reform programme. "Zimbabwe has had problems with Britain, again related to the land reform programme," he said. "This is a bilateral matter between Britain and Zimbabwe. It's not a UN matter." UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari also said there were no plans for the UN to intervene in Zimbabwe.

"It's premature to talk about any package and certainly even more premature to talk about that package including a possible departure of President Mugabe," Mr Gambari told reporters in New York. Mr Mbeki, in London for talks with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, on Wednesday criticised British policy on Zimbabwe and defended South Africa's efforts to foster dialogue. He said the world should wait for the outcome of Mr Annan's diplomatic drive. "I think it's best left to them - to the UN and the Zimbabwe government, and hopefully that will produce this outcome so that we remove this particular matter from the international agenda," he said.

Annual inflation is more than 1,000% and many people are struggling to support their families. Many in the west blame the crisis on President Robert Mugabe's policies. He in turn says western countries are sabotaging the economy to remove him from power because of his land reform programme.


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