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The United Nations
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President Previews U.N. Meeting
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Friday, September 21, 2007
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 fit...fit 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
Thu, 20 Sep 2007 00:16:00
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
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
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."
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
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