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Goff welcomes continuation of Zimbabwe suspension

Goff welcomes continuation of Zimbabwe suspension

Foreign Minister Phil Goff is welcoming news that Zimbabwe will remain suspended from the Commonwealth until the issue is discussed at December's heads of government meeting in Nigeria.

The year-old suspension of Zimbabwe had been due to expire on March 19 but Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon has announced a continuation of the suspension, in line with the wishes of a large majority of Commonwealth leaders.

"New Zealand strongly supports the continued suspension of Zimbabwe from the Councils of the Commonwealth," Mr Goff said.

"To lift the suspension when we don't recognise the legitimacy of the Zimbabwe government after last year's rigged elections, and particularly while human rights abuses are continuing to occur there, would be absolutely wrong.

"In announcing the continued suspension, the Secretary-General has identified serious short-comings in Zimbabwe's response to the Commonwealth's attempts to re-establish basic rights in that country.

"The regime of Robert Mugabe continues to act contrary to the fundamental principles of democracy, the rule of law and equality regardless of race, colour or creed, as set out in the Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration.

“Legislation, threats and intimidation have controlled and silenced the press and judiciary; opponents of the regime continue to be subjected to violence and arbitrary arrests, and millions of Zimbabweans face starvation through wanton mismanagement of the economy and corruption," Mr Goff said.

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