UN chief urges restraint amid reports of post-election violence in Zimbabwe
Following reports that troops fired on demonstrators protesting election results in Zimbabwe, UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday called on the country’s political leaders, and the population at large, to “exercise restraint and reject any form of violence”.
On Wednesday, Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq expressed concern over the reported violence and reminded the incumbents and political parties of the commitments they made through the Peace Pledge, signed on 26 June, and the Code of Conduct for a peaceful electoral process.
Here is Mr. Haq:
“[The Secretary-General] calls on the political leaders and the population to exercise restraint and reject any form of violence while awaiting resolution of the disputes and announcement of the election results.”
According to news reports, the latest official results show that while the ruling party has won most seats in the parliament, the opposition is alleging ballot-rigging.
Meanwhile, impatience mounts at the delayed release of full results.
New Ebola cases in DR Congo, UN health agency reports
Still in Africa, on Thursday the World Health Organization said that there have been new cases of the Ebola Virus in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC.
WHO said the new cluster of cases is occurring in an active conflict zone, which is a very different environment from previous incidents.
The UN health agency added that this time around, safely accessing the affected population would be a major barrier.
“Ebola is a constant threat in the DRC,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding that the country’s transparency again gives the UN agency confidence in its ability to respond.
“Working closely with the Ministry of Health and partners, we will fight this one as we did the last,” he concluded.
Key foods see biggest price drop since late last year: FAO
Changing gears, the cost of food staples fell sharply worldwide in July said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Thursday, announcing at 3.7 per cent, the biggest monthly drop since late last year.
According to the FAO Food Price Index, a measure of the monthly cost change in a basket of commodities, dairy products led the slide at 6.6 per cent, with butter and cheese products dropping most.
A 6 per cent fall in sugar prices took that sector to a near three-year low, pushed downwards by better production prospects in India and Thailand.
Values could have been worse if forecasts for Brazil — the world’s largest producer and exporter — had not been poor, FAO said in a statement.
Lower prices were also registered in vegetable oils and meat, but at 3.6 per cent, cereals saw the biggest decline of the three.