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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

President Bush Addresses United Nations General Assembly



President Bush Addresses United Nations General Assembly  

The United Nations

New York, New York
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     Fact sheet Senior Administration Official Briefing
     Fact sheet Remarks by President Bush and President Aznar
     Fact sheet Remarks by President Bush, Secretary General Annan
     Fact sheet President Previews U.N. Meeting
10:59 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Secretary General; Mr. President; distinguished delegates; ladies and gentlemen: Twenty-four months ago -- and yesterday in the memory of America -- the center of New York City became a battlefield, and a graveyard, and the symbol of an unfinished war. Since that day, terrorists have struck in Bali, Mombassa, in Casablanca, in Riyadh, in Jakarta, in Jerusalem -- measuring the advance of their cause in the chaos and innocent suffering they leave behind.
President George W. Bush addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York City Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2003. "Iraq as a dictatorship had great power to destabilize the Middle East; Iraq as a democracy will have great power to inspire the Middle East," said President Bush in his remarks.  White House photo by Tina Hager Last month, terrorists brought their war to the United Nations itself. The U.N. headquarters in Baghdad stood for order and compassion -- and for that reason, the terrorists decided it must be destroyed. Among the 22 people who were murdered was Sergio Vieira de Mello. Over the decades, this good and brave man from Brazil gave help to the afflicted in Bangladesh, Cyprus, Mozambique, Lebanon, Cambodia, Central Africa, Kosovo, and East Timor, and was aiding the people of Iraq in their time of need. America joins you, his colleagues, in honoring the memory of Senor Vieira de Mello, and the memory of all who died with him in the service to the United Nations.
By the victims they choose, and by the means they use, the terrorists have clarified the struggle we are in. Those who target relief workers for death have set themselves against all humanity. Those who incite murder and celebrate suicide reveal their contempt for life, itself. They have no place in any religious faith; they have no claim on the world's sympathy; and they should have no friend in this chamber.
Events during the past two years have set before us the clearest of divides: between those who seek order, and those who spread chaos; between those who work for peaceful change, and those who adopt the methods of gangsters; between those who honor the rights of man, and those who deliberately take the lives of men and women and children without mercy or shame.
Between these alternatives there is no neutral ground. All governments that support terror are complicit in a war against civilization. No government should ignore the threat of terror, because to look the other way gives terrorists the chance to regroup and recruit and prepare. And all nations that fight terror, as if the lives of their own people depend on it, will earn the favorable judgment of history.
The former regimes of Afghanistan and Iraq knew these alternatives, and made their choices. The Taliban was a sponsor and servant of terrorism. When confronted, that regime chose defiance, and that regime is no more. Afghanistan's President, who is here today, now represents a free people who are building a decent and just society; they're building a nation fully joined in the war against terror.
The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction. It used those weapons in acts of mass murder, and refused to account for them when confronted by the world. The Security Council was right to be alarmed. The Security Council was right to demand that Iraq destroy its illegal weapons and prove that it had done so. The Security Council was right to vow serious consequences if Iraq refused to comply. And because there were consequences, because a coalition of nations acted to defend the peace, and the credibility of the United Nations, Iraq is free, and today we are joined by representatives of a liberated country.
President George W. Bush addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York City Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2003. "America is working with friends and allies on a new Security Council resolution, which will expand the U.N.'s role in Iraq," said the President in his remarks.  White House photo by Tina Hager Saddam Hussein's monuments have been removed and not only his statues. The true monuments of his rule and his character -- the torture chambers, and the rape rooms, and the prison cells for innocent children -- are closed. And as we discover the killing fields and mass graves of Iraq, the true scale of Saddam's cruelty is being revealed.
The Iraqi people are meeting hardships and challenges, like every nation that has set out on the path of democracy. Yet their future promises lives of dignity and freedom, and that is a world away from the squalid, vicious tyranny they have known. Across Iraq, life is being improved by liberty. Across the Middle East, people are safer because an unstable aggressor has been removed from power. Across the world, nations are more secure because an ally of terror has fallen.
Our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq were supported by many governments, and America is grateful to each one. I also recognize that some of the sovereign nations of this assembly disagreed with our actions. Yet there was, and there remains, unity among us on the fundamental principles and objectives of the United Nations. We are dedicated to the defense of our collective security, and to the advance of human rights. These permanent commitments call us to great work in the world, work we must do together. So let us move forward.
First, we must stand with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq as they build free and stable countries. The terrorists and their allies fear and fight this progress above all, because free people embrace hope over resentment, and choose peace over violence.
The United Nations has been a friend of the Afghan people, distributing food and medicine, helping refugees return home, advising on a new constitution, and helping to prepare the way for nationwide elections. NATO has taken over the U.N.-mandated security force in Kabul. American and coalition forces continue to track and defeat al Qaeda terrorists and remnants of the Taliban. Our efforts to rebuild that country go on. I have recently proposed to spend an additional $1.2 billion for the Afghan reconstruction effort, and I urge other nations to continue contributing to this important cause.
In the nation of Iraq, the United Nations is carrying out vital and effective work every day. By the end of 2004, more than 90 percent of Iraqi children under age five will have been immunized against preventable diseases such as polio, tuberculosis and measles, thanks to the hard work and high ideals of UNICEF. Iraq's food distribution system is operational, delivering nearly a half-million tons of food per month, thanks to the skill and expertise of the World Food Program.
Our international coalition in Iraq is meeting it responsibilities. We are conducting precision raids against terrorists and holdouts of the former regime. These killers are at war with the Iraqi people. They have made Iraq the central front in the war on terror, and they will be defeated. Our coalition has made sure that Iraq's former dictator will never again use weapons of mass destruction. We are interviewing Iraqi citizens and analyzing records of the old regime to reveal the full extent of its weapons programs and its long campaign of deception. We're training Iraqi police and border guards and a new army, so the Iraqi people can assume full responsibility for their own security.
And at the same time, our coalition is helping to improve the daily lives of the Iraqi people. The old regime built palaces while letting schools decay, so we are rebuilding more than a thousand schools. The old regime starved hospitals of resources, so we have helped to supply and reopen hospitals across Iraq. The old regime built up armies and weapons, while allowing the nation's infrastructure to crumble, so we are rehabilitating power plants, water and sanitation facilities, bridges and airports. I proposed to Congress that the United States provide additional funding for our work in Iraq, the greatest financial commitment of its kind since the Marshall Plan. Having helped to liberate Iraq, we will honor our pledges to Iraq, and by helping the Iraqi people build a stable and peaceful country, we will make our own countries more secure.
The primary goal of our coalition in Iraq is self-government for the people of Iraq, reached by orderly and democratic process. This process must unfold according to the needs of Iraqis, neither hurried, nor delayed by the wishes of other parties. And the United Nations can contribute greatly to the cause of Iraq self-government. America is working with friends and allies on a new Security Council resolution, which will expand the U.N.'s role in Iraq. As in the aftermath of other conflicts, the United Nations should assist in developing a constitution, in training civil servants, and conducting free and fair elections.
Iraq now has a Governing Council, the first truly representative institution in that country. Iraq's new leaders are showing the openness and tolerance that democracy requires, and they're also showing courage. Yet every young democracy needs the help of friends. Now the nation of Iraq needs and deserves our aid, and all nations of goodwill should step forward and provide that support.
The success of a free Iraq will be watched and noted throughout the region. Millions will see that freedom, equality, and material progress are possible at the heart of the Middle East. Leaders in the region will face the clearest evidence that free institutions and open societies are the only path to long-term national success and dignity. And a transformed Middle East would benefit the entire world, by undermining the ideologies that export violence to other lands.
Iraq as a dictatorship had great power to destabilize the Middle East; Iraq as a democracy will have great power to inspire the Middle East. The advance of democratic institutions in Iraq is setting an example that others, including the Palestinian people, would be wise to follow. The Palestinian cause is betrayed by leaders who cling to power by feeding old hatreds and destroying the good work of others. The Palestinian people deserve their own state, and they will gain that state by embracing new leaders committed to reform, to fighting terror, and to building peace. All parties in the Middle East must meet their responsibilities and carry out the commitments they made at Aqaba. Israel must work to create the conditions that will allow a peaceful Palestinian state to emerge. And Arab nations must cut off funding and other support for terrorist organizations. America will work with every nation in the region that acts boldly for the sake of peace.
A second challenge we must confront together is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Outlaw regimes that possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons -- and the means to deliver them -- would be able to use blackmail and create chaos in entire regions. These weapons could be used by terrorists to bring sudden disaster and suffering on a scale we can scarcely imagine. The deadly combination of outlaw regimes and terror networks and weapons of mass murder is a peril that cannot be ignored or wished away. If such a danger is allowed to fully materialize, all words, all protests, will come too late. Nations of the world must have the wisdom and the will to stop grave threats before they arrive.
One crucial step is to secure the most dangerous materials at their source. For more than a decade, the United States has worked with Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union to dismantle, destroy, or secure weapons and dangerous materials left over from another era. Last year in Canada, the G8 nations agreed to provide up to $20 billion -- half of it from the United States -- to fight this proliferation risk over the next 10 years. Since then, six additional countries have joined the effort. More are needed, and I urge other nations to help us meet this danger.
We're also improving our capability to interdict lethal materials in transit. Through our Proliferation Security Initiative, 11 nations are preparing to search planes and ships, trains and trucks carrying suspect cargo, and to seize weapons or missile shipments that raise proliferation concerns. These nations have agreed on a set of interdiction principles, consistent with legal -- current legal authorities. And we're working to expand the Proliferation Security Initiative to other countries. We're determined to keep the world's most destructive weapons away from all our shores, and out of the hands of our common enemies.
Because proliferators will use any route or channel that is open to them, we need the broadest possible cooperation to stop them. Today, I ask the U.N. Security Council to adopt a new anti-proliferation resolution. This resolution should call on all members of the U.N. to criminalize the proliferation of weapons -- weapons of mass destruction, to enact strict export controls consistent with international standards, and to secure any and all sensitive materials within their own borders. The United States stands ready to help any nation draft these new laws, and to assist in their enforcement.
A third challenge we share is a challenge to our conscience. We must act decisively to meet the humanitarian crises of our time. The United States has begun to carry out the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, aimed at preventing AIDS on a massive scale, and treating millions who have the disease already. We have pledged $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS around the world.
My country is acting to save lives from famine, as well. We're providing more than $1.4 billion in global emergency food aid, and I've asked our United States Congress for $200 million for a new famine fund, so we can act quickly when the first signs of famine appear. Every nation on every continent should generously add their resources to the fight against disease and desperate hunger.
There's another humanitarian crisis spreading, yet hidden from view. Each year, an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 human beings are bought, sold or forced across the world's borders. Among them are hundreds of thousands of teenage girls, and others as young as five, who fall victim to the sex trade. This commerce in human life generates billions of dollars each year -- much of which is used to finance organized crime.
There's a special evil in the abuse and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable. The victims of sex trade see little of life before they see the very worst of life -- an underground of brutality and lonely fear. Those who create these victims and profit from their suffering must be severely punished. Those who patronize this industry debase themselves and deepen the misery of others. And governments that tolerate this trade are tolerating a form of slavery.
This problem has appeared in my own country, and we are working to stop it. The PROTECT Act, which I signed into law this year, makes it a crime for any person to enter the United States, or for any citizen to travel abroad, for the purpose of sex tourism involving children. The Department of Justice is actively investigating sex tour operators and patrons, who can face up to 30 years in prison. Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the United States is using sanctions against governments to discourage human trafficking.
The victims of this industry also need help from members of the United Nations. And this begins with clear standards and the certainty of punishment under laws of every country. Today, some nations make it a crime to sexually abuse children abroad. Such conduct should be a crime in all nations. Governments should inform travelers of the harm this industry does, and the severe punishments that will fall on its patrons. The American government is committing $50 million to support the good work of organizations that are rescuing women and children from exploitation, and giving them shelter and medical treatment and the hope of a new life. I urge other governments to do their part.
We must show new energy in fighting back an old evil. Nearly two centuries after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, and more than a century after slavery was officially ended in its last strongholds, the trade in human beings for any purpose must not be allowed to thrive in our time.
All the challenges I have spoken of this morning require urgent attention and moral clarity. Helping Afghanistan and Iraq to succeed as free nations in a transformed region, cutting off the avenues of proliferation, abolishing modern forms of slavery -- these are the kinds of great tasks for which the United Nations was founded. In each case, careful discussion is needed, and also decisive action. Our good intentions will be credited only if we achieve good outcomes.
As an original signer of the U.N. Charter, the United States of America is committed to the United Nations. And we show that commitment by working to fulfill the U.N.'s stated purposes, and give meaning to its ideals. The founding documents of the United Nations and the founding documents of America stand in the same tradition. Both assert that human beings should never be reduced to objects of power or commerce, because their dignity is inherent. Both require -- both recognize a moral law that stands above men and nations, which must be defended and enforced by men and nations. And both point the way to peace, the peace that comes when all are free. We secure that peace with our courage, and we must show that courage together.
May God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 11:25 A.M. EDT


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Friday, September 21, 2007

SADC won't attend EU/AU summit without Mugabe - Levy Mwanawasa!

By Brighton Phiri

Friday September 21, 2007 [04:01]


SOUTHERN Africa Development Community (SADC) countries will boycott the forthcoming European Union (EU)/African Union (AU) summit if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is not allowed to attend, President Mwanawasa declared yesterday.

Speaking before departure for New York, where he was scheduled to attend the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, President Mwanawasa said blocking President Mugabe from attending the EU/AU summit scheduled for Lisbon, Portugal in December, would not help resolve the problems in Zimbabwe.

“So if Great Britain will not attend the Portugal summit because President Mugabe will be there that is very unfortunate as far as this region is concerned.

And I must say that in that case, the EU/AU summit hangs in the balance. I don’t know how some of us will be prepared to go to Portugal without President Mugabe,” President Mwanawasa said.

“I will not go to Portugal if Mugabe is not allowed. That is not to say I agree and I am happy with the situation in Zimbabwe. But I feel that there is need to continue dialoguing with our colleagues in Zimbabwe. If Robert Mugabe is not allowed, then the whole basis of dialogue is removed. As far as I concerned, that includes even failing to go.”

President Mwanawasa said it was important for British Prime minister Gordon Brown to meet President Mugabe in the interest of dialogue in order to find a lasting solution to Zimbabwwe’s crisis.

“As SADC chairperson and also as Zambian President, I have always said that dialogue is important to resolve any problem. You cannot resolve problems unless you discuss and meet the person whom you perceive as the wrong doer,” he said. “From that premise it is very clear that those with a born to chew with President Mugabe have to agree to meet him. If they don’t agree to meet him then the solution will not be found.”

President Mwanawasa disclosed that he would hold meetings with members of the private sector and other heads of state while in New York.

President Mwanawasa said he would seize the opportunity to woo some investors to Zambia.

“In addition to the UN General Assembly, there will be several meetings which I will attend. I look forward to these meetings because I have the chance to meet the private sector, to woo investors to Zambia,” President Mwanawasa said.

“I will also be meeting with the Clinton Global Foundation. I will also hold some meetings with my fellow heads of state during which we will discuss matters of mutual interest.”

On former foreign affairs minister Mundia Sikatana’s statement that he was not interested to hold on to the position of nominated member of parliament and that he was fit, President Mwanawasa said he was convinced that Sikatana was not fit to serve in government before taking his decision.

“I did what I did because I was convinced of what I said. I am glad to learn from Sikatana’s statement that he is indeed to contest as Republican president. But during the time of my discussion with him, I had explained to him in great detail the basis of my contention that he was not well,” President Mwanawasa said.

“Mundia is a great friend of mine. It pained me that I had to ask him to leave. As you know I have nominated him as MP twice.”

President Mwanawasa was accompanied by foreign affairs minister Kabinga Pande, science and technology minister Peter Daka, agriculture minister Ben Kapita and several other senior government officials.

According to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report yesterday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown had said he would boycott a summit of European and African leaders if President Mugabe attends the event.

According to the BBC report, Prime Minister Brown said President Mugabe’s presence at the conference in Portugal would divert attention from important issues such as poverty, climate change and health.

Prime Minister Brown told the Independent newspaper that President Mugabe had an EU travel ban for a reason - “the abuse of his own people”.

The European Union-African Union summit will take place in Lisbon in December.
Prime Minister Brown described the EU/AU summit as a “serious opportunity” to forge stronger partnerships between Africa and the EU.

“I believe President Mugabe’s presence would undermine the summit, divert attention from the important issues that need to be resolved,” he said. “In those circumstances, my attendance would not be appropriate.”

Prime Minister Brown said Britain had a responsibility to the people of Zimbabwe, who find themselves in an “appalling and tragic” situation.

Quoting a senior source in the Portuguese government, the BBC report stated that no invitation had yet been sent to President Mugabe.

The BBC’s Europe editor, Mark Mardell, said he understood diplomats were being “very active in trying to find a compromise”.

“This could involve inviting another Zimbabwean representative, such as a junior member of the government or a civil servant, so that Mr Brown could attend,” he said.
Portugal, which holds the rotating EU presidency, is keen to invite every African leader for the summit on 8 and 9 December.

However, the Portuguese may let the African Union decide which leaders should attend.
BBC world affairs correspondent Allan Little said criticism from Britain, the old colonial power, was a double-edged sword, because in both Zimbabwe and South Africa, this could be portrayed as an attempt to re-assert the interests of the white minority.

In order to allow President Mugabe to attend the conference, EU member states would have to convene before the summit and agree to lift the travel ban currently imposed on him.

But Prime Minister Brown is urging EU leaders to keep it in place.

“There is no freedom in Zimbabwe: no freedom of association; no freedom of the press,” said Prime Minister Brown, who was chancellor in 2004 when Jack Straw, foreign secretary at the time, was pictured shaking hands with the Zimbabwean leader at the UN.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New US ambassador to increase pressure on Zim!!!


Thu, 20 Sep 2007 00:16:00

Munyaradzi Shonhayi

THE United States ambassador-designate to Zimbabwe on Wednesday pledged to continue with his country’s efforts to help Zimbabweans in their pursuit of a democratically elected government that respects human rights and the rule of law, while acknowledging that the once prosperous nation is now suffering under “authoritarian misrule.”

In a testimony before the Committee on Foreign Relations in the United States Senate, James D. McGee told the lawmakers that there is a “deep reservoir of democratic knowledge, capacity, and desire in Zimbabwe that needs continuing support to challenge the government to enact democratic reforms and to keep hope alive that change is possible.”

While the prospects for such a democratic transformation in Zimbabwe are “very challenging, we remain strongly committed to facilitating peaceful change,” he pledged. “Our goal,” he told the lawmakers, “must be that the presidential and parliamentary elections take place as scheduled for next year and meet international standards.”

He termed it “imperative” that there be a substantial period of time for al candidates to campaign on a level playing field, prior to the election. Additionally, McGee pledged continued humanitarian assistance to the Zimbabwean people.

In 2007, he said, the United States donated more than $170 million in food aid to that country. The United States is now feeding one in five Zimbabweans, he said. Non-food aid humanitarian assistance in 2007 equaled $5.1 million and HIV/AIDS programs were increased to $31million in fiscal year 2007, he added

Statement of James D. McGee, Ambassador-Designate to the Republic of Zimbabwe Senate Committee on Foreign Relations September 19, 2007

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee:

It is an honor and a privilege for me to appear before you today as President Bush's nominee to be Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe. I appreciate the confidence that the President and Secretary Rice have in me by putting my name forward for your consideration.

If confirmed, I look forward to working with the administration, this Committee, and the Congress in advancing U.S. interests and in helping our efforts to put Zimbabwe back on the path of democracy and economic prosperity.

Although Zimbabwe once enjoyed a sound economy and vibrant democratic institutions, the country today is suffering under authoritarian misrule.

The Government continues to commit unspeakable human rights abuses while enforcing policies that have produced economic collapse, food shortages, and the destruction of once strong judicial, financial, health and educational institutions. Regional stability is threatened as the people of Zimbabwe flee their rapidly disintegrating country to neighboring countries.

If confirmed, I would continue our government's efforts in assisting the people of Zimbabwe in their pursuit of a democratically elected government that respects human rights and the rule of law.

Such a government could promote the welfare of its people by implementing the economic reforms needed to bring prosperity to Zimbabwe and contribute to regional growth and stability.

In undertaking this assignment, I would call on my years of experience in Africa and elsewhere, representing the United States and working to promote democratic values. During my 26 years in the Foreign Service, I have served as Ambassador to Swaziland, Madagascar, and the Comoros. In these and other assignments, I sought to strengthen our bilateral relations while advancing U.S. interests by pressing for democratic reforms.

I worked closely with pro-democracy civil society organizations in Swaziland to help write and eventually enact the first constitution that country had seen in over thirty years. In Madagascar, I helped the country to prepare for and implement successfully free and fair elections following the election crisis of 2001. I would work diligently to strengthen pro-democracy organizations in Zimbabwe.

I strongly believe that there is a deep reservoir of democratic knowledge, capacity, and desire in Zimbabwe that needs continuing support to challenge the government to enact democratic reforms and to keep hope alive that change is possible.

Mr. Chairman, it must be stated that while the prospects for democratic transformation in Zimbabwe are very challenging, we remain strongly committed to facilitating peaceful change. Our goal must be that the presidential and parliamentary elections take place as scheduled for next year and meet international standards. However, unless the Government of Zimbabwe quickly establishes conditions for a free and fair election and rigorously implements a level playing field, the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for next year will not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people. It is imperative that there be a substantial period of time for all candidates to campaign on a level playing field.

Still, we must continue our efforts. Abandoning the people of Zimbabwe to the worst effects of their government's misrule is not in America's interests. Returning Zimbabwe to a democratic state with a strong economy is necessary to promote regional stability and economic growth. Therefore, we must use the tools at our disposal to achieve the results we seek.

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act and our targeted sanctions program have increased the pressure on those individuals that have undermined democracy and prosperity. We are working with like-minded members of the international community to increase this pressure. We must continue to lend our support to regional efforts to pressure the Government of Zimbabwe to enact needed reforms.

The United States strongly supports the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) initiative to resolve the political and economic crisis, but the Government of Zimbabwe continues its repression and intimidation of civil society, religious organizations, businesspeople, and political groups.

It is essential now more than ever for the United States to continue its support for civil society and pro-democratic elements in Zimbabwe. We need to play a major role in ensuring that these organizations survive the current repression to participate in Zimbabwe's eventual recovery.

We must also continue our humanitarian assistance to the Zimbabwean people and ensure that it reaches the people in need. In fiscal year 2007, United States food aid amounted to over $170 million.

Today the United States is helping to feed nearly one-in-five Zimbabweans. Non-food aid humanitarian assistance is approximately $5.1 million, and HIV/AIDS programs were increased to $31 million in fiscal year 2007. This funding is helping to deliver anti-retroviral treatment to 40,000 Zimbabweans. These actions demonstrate the generosity and compassion of the American people.

Resolution of Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis would stem the flow of migrants seeking a better life outside Zimbabwe. It would restore Zimbabwe's contribution to regional economic growth and enable the country to feed itself, rather than depending on international handouts.

With a democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe, SADC could be a stronger instrument of regional economic development, providing opportunities for African growth and for U.S. private investment.

Zimbabwe is at an increasingly difficult point in its history. I welcome the opportunity to take on the challenges that will be faced by the next U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe.

If confirmed, I will do my best to protect Americans and American interests while working to help the people of Zimbabwe restore their country to a democratic and prosperous member of the international community.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today. I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

Monday, August 27, 2007

US backed Zimbabwe land reform!!!


By Martin Plaut

BBC Africa analyst

The key role played by the United States ahead of Zimbabwe's independence in resolving the sticky point of land redistribution has just come to light.
The land issue has always been emotive in Zimbabwe - as can be seen with the current crisis sparked off by the government seizure of mainly white-owned farms in 2000.

And it was important to all parties in 1980 that signed the Lancaster House Agreement that led to the transformation of Rhodesia into Zimbabwe.

The road to the agreement was not straight forward, and as an investigation by the BBC's The Westminster Hour programme has revealed, it was much bumpier than at first suspected.

I thought it was going to end in tears

Lord Carrington, former UK foreign secretary

When former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 the situation of Rhodesia had been a central concern of the British government for years.

A war had raged since the 1960s between the white government led by Ian Smith and liberation fighters led by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo.

Mrs Thatcher was persuaded - somewhat reluctantly - by her Foreign Secretary, Peter Carrington, to make one last push to try to resolve the issue.

"I didn't really think there was much prospect of success at Lancaster House because the sides were so far apart and in particular Smith had talked about it all for a thousand years and it was going to be a very difficult negotiation," Lord Carrington told the BBC.

"I didn't think it was going to work to be frank. I mean I thought it was going to end in tears."


But with the help of the then Commonwealth Secretary-General, Sir Shridath Ramphal, he managed to persuade all sides to attend.

When Nkomo and Mugabe saw it they blew up... The struggle was about land

Shridath Ramphal
Former Commonwealth secretary-general

Lengthy talks got under way in the splendour of Lancaster House, just opposite Buckingham Palace.

Gradually progress was made. Until the question of who would own the land.

It was the toughest of issues. Whites - 5% of the population - owned 80% of the arable land.

Millions of black people scratched a living on the rest.

For Mr Mugabe and Mr Nkomo this was critical.

Yet when Lord Carrington finally presented the draft constitution it contained no reference to the land.

White farmers owned 80% of the land before independence

Sir Shridath says the conference came close to collapse.

"From the British government's point of view the constitution was preserving the status quo for a minimum of 10 years," he says.

"When Nkomo and Mugabe saw it and understood the implications they blew up. They asked Carrington what he meant. The struggle was about land.

"Was he saying to them they must sign a constitution which says that they could not redistribute land because if that was the case they should go back to the bush and the conference broke up."

Sir Shridath believed the conference was doomed to failure and that Mr Mugabe and Mr Nkomo would walk out and the civil war would resume.

"I took an initiative of my own as secretary-general which isn't much known and talked about but can be now."

Secret promise

He secretly contacted the US ambassador in London, Kingman Brewster, and asked him to get the then US President, Jimmy Carter, to promise money to pay white farmers for their land.

Mr Mugabe was angered when the UK stopped land payments

"Brewster was totally supportive. We were at a stage where Mugabe and Nkomo were packing their bags," he explains.

"He came back to me within 24 hours. They had got hold of Jimmy Carter and Carter authorised Brewster to say to me that the United States would contribute a substantial amount for a process of land redistribution and they would undertake to encourage the British government to give similar assurances.

"That of course saved the conference."

Nearly 30 years after the Lancaster Conference, Lord Carrington was surprised to learn of Shridath Ramphal's secret intervention.

"Maybe that is so. Why should he pretend if it isn't true? But I didn't know anything about it at the time," he said.

For eight years the unwritten deal worked.

White farmers were paid around $35m by the UK for their land, which was then redistributed.

But the UK government found that some of the farms were being given to President Mugabe's close associates, and refused to continue the payments.

Mr Mugabe was furious, claiming bad faith.

The path to the seizure of white farms was opened and thus began the long slide to today's economic chaos.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's Daughter Studying At A Top University In London

Submitted by Sudhakar Shanbhag on Mon, 2007-05-14 13:14.
With the International Cricket Council saying it will take no action against Australia over their withdrawal from the forthcoming Zimbabwe tour because it is due to a government ban and the political unrest in the African nation caused by the leadership of President Robert Mugabe, the British government has confirmed that Mugabe's daughter is studying in London.
The Sun reported that the Foreign Office Minister Ian McCartney told MPs in a Commons that Bona Mugabe is studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), which is part of London University.
He was responding to a question from Tory James Duddridge (Rochford and Southend E) who asked: "Can you confirm whether or not Robert Mugabe's daughter, Bona Mugabe, is currently studying at the London School of Economics and if so who is paying?"
Mr McCartney replied: "The first part of your question I understand that is the case. The second part, I am not certain about that but I will write to you and give a copy to the House."
Mr McCartney added that he believed serious consideration should be given to extending a travel ban imposed on tyrant Mugabe to his children.
Last year British politicians urged England players not to tour Zimbabwe, but did not ban them, a stance criticised by ICC chief Malcom Speed.
He said: "In this case a government has come out and said they've prohibited their team from going to Zimbabwe.
"That's the clarity we've been seeking."


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