UN Joins Reference Group Aiding Zimbabwe Mediation
United Nations joins reference group aiding Zimbabwe mediation process
21 July 2008 - The United Nations has agreed to join a reference group on Zimbabwe, set up by the President of South Africa who has been leading the mediation process to resolve the continuing political crisis in Harare.
The group "will accompany the mediation process and consult, as needed, on how to facilitate and advance the negotiations," UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.
The other members of the group are the African Union and the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Ms. Montas noted that South African President Thabo Mbeki remains fully in charge of the mediation process - aimed at resolving the ongoing dispute between President Robert Mugabe, who was sworn in for another term after being declared the winner of last month's presidential run-off, and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Senior UN political official Haile Menkerios was in Pretoria over the weekend to consult with President Mbeki and AU Chairperson Jean Ping on the situation in Zimbabwe, which has been plagued by deadly violence and a worsening humanitarian situation since the first round of elections was held on 29 March.