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Winston Peters: Notice of Motion on Zimbabwe

Winston Peters: Notice of Motion on Zimbabwe

The decision of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, to withdraw from the second round of Presidential elections in Zimbabwe follows a deepening of the crisis afflicting that country.

We must respect Mr Tsvangirai's decision. It has been made in the context of increasing violence, intimidation and murder directed against his supporters.

There can be no fair election when violence prevents people from exercising their right to choose a government.

All indications are that the violence is one sided, and is being perpetrated by groups linked to Zimbabwe's security forces and the ruling party, ZANU-PF.

So far, at least 85 MDC members have been victims of targeted killings, while several thousand innocent citizens have been injured, and thousands more either displaced or unlawfully detained.

New Zealand strongly condemns this blatant violation of the democratic process.

The results of the elections on 29 March demonstrated that Zimbabweans want change. Mr Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the second round of voting is a serious blow to their hopes.

Mugabe has completely lost the confidence of Zimbabwe's people, who once welcomed him as a liberator. Recent statements by prominent African leaders have confirmed that they too find his behaviour intolerable.

The next few days are crucial. We look to African leaders, including President Mbeki of South Africa, to engage with strengthened resolve in efforts to bring this crisis to an end.

We wish to reiterate New Zealand's unwavering support for the efforts of African organisations, particularly the Southern Africa Development Community, and the African Union, to hold Mugabe's regime to account.

The United Nations Security Council has discussed the situation in Zimbabwe today.

New Zealand welcomes the Security Council's condemnation of the Mugabe regime's campaign of violence, which has been delivered in the strongest possible terms.

New Zealand will continue to work with the UN, and like-minded countries, to determine a way out of the current impasse.

Zimbabwe has suffered deeply under the current regime. For the country to have any chance to develop and prosper, peace, democracy and stability must be returned.


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