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Africa

'Elders' slam Mugabe

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Latest update : 2008-12-07

World leaders, including the "Elders" group, have called for a transition in Zimbabwe's government, with Kofi Annan citing President Robert Mugabe's inability to lead the country out of its crisis, which is worsening after a cholera outbreak.

AFP - President Robert Mugabe's government cannot lead Zimbabwe out of a humanitarian crisis marked by a cholera outbreak with nearly 600 deaths, the Elders group of international statesmen said on Sunday.
  
"There is bitter disappointment in the current leadership. This government  has not demonstrated the ability to lead the country out of its current crisis," former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said, according to a statement by the group.
  
"The process of transition to an inclusive government must be accelerated and I urge SADC (Southern African Development Community) leaders to play a more active role in pressing for that to occur," he said in a report released on the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.
  
Annan and two other members of the Elders -- former US president Jimmy Carter and rights activist Graca Machel, the wife of former South African leader Nelson Mandela -- tried to visit Zimbabwe on November 22 and 23 but were refused entry by Harare.
  
Instead, they met Zimbabwe political leaders, civil society and business reprensatives, donors, aid workers and UN agency heads over three days in Johannesburg, the statement said.
  
Machel urged SADC leaders to visit Zimbabwe themselves.
  
"We were not able to enter the country.... I would urge all the SADC leaders to visit Zimbabwe to assess the humanitarian situation firsthand. Zimbabwe's leaders are failing their people and the region cannot ignore the suffering of millions any longer," she said.
  
Based on the discussions in Johannesburg, "the Elders are strongly of the view that there is a major underreported humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe and the conditions are deteriorating at an alarming rate," the report said.
  
"The future of the country cannot be in the hands of the present government," said former Norwegian prime minister Gro Brundtland, a member of the Elders.
  
On Monday, the Elders will meet in Paris with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, the current head of the European Union, and attend ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the statement said.
  
Also Monday, EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels are expected to tighten sanctions against Zimbabwe.
  
Meanwhile, South Africa is sending an official delegation to Zimbabwe to assess the situation, while a troika meeting of SADC health and water affairs ministers will meet Thursday in Zimbabwe on the cholera outbreak.
  

 

Date created : 2008-12-07

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