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Summit To Resolve Zimbabwean Power-Sharing Impasse

Secretary-General welcomes latest effort to resolve Zimbabwean impasse

27 October 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed today’s initiative of regional leaders in Southern Africa to hold a summit in Harare, Zimbabwe, to resolve the outstanding issues to a power-sharing deal for a new government in the troubled and impoverished country, warning of the humanitarian consequences if the impasse does not end soon.

The summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) security troika “provides a critical opportunity for the leaders to finalize in good faith the formation of the new government based on an equitable division of power, and to move swiftly to implement the 15 September agreement on resolving the many serious challenges facing Zimbabwe,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations’ willingness to support Zimbabwe throughout this delicate transition process and to work with regional leaders and the international community to provide immediate relief to the suffering of its people.”

Mr. Ban said in the statement that he was alarmed that the ongoing political crisis, which dates back to disputed elections early this year involving the incumbent President Robert Mugabe and the opposition figure Morgan Tsvangirai, is taking a “growing human cost.” He added that signs indicate Zimbabwe’s humanitarian situation may only worsen through next year.

“He is deeply concerned that the population of Zimbabwe in both rural and urban areas faces many challenges, including critical shortages of all food, essential drugs, basic services, and clean water. It is urgent to resolve the ongoing political impasse so that recovery can begin.”

Earlier this month the UN World Food Programme (WFP) appealed for $140 million to provide vital rations over the next six months to Zimbabweans, with estimates that more than five million residents are now facing severe food shortages.

ENDS

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