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Concerned over Zimbabwe's lack of adequate food, Annan urges new land reform effort

Concerned over Zimbabwe's lack of adequate food, Annan urges new land reform effort

Kofi Annan
Responding to reports of severe food shortages in Zimbabwe, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for the country to adopt a proper land reform effort that would ease the situation.

"As the risk of famine looms, I believe that a successful, sustainable land reform programme that will benefit all the people of Zimbabwe, especially the landless poor, is more important than ever," Mr. Annan said in a statement released during an official visit to Angola.

Stressing that there could be no lasting solution to the current problems unless the Government of Zimbabwe implements a "phased and fully funded" land reform programme, the Secretary-General said the effort must be run according to the rule of law while allowing for proper training and adequate support to new small farmers as well as compensation to displaced farm workers and commercial farmers.

"Such a land reform programme is urgently needed in order to minimize the negative effects of the current situation on food production and the overall economy in Zimbabwe," he said, adding, "It would also ensure the engagement and future support of the international community."

The statement noted that the UN is already fully engaged in a comprehensive humanitarian effort to ensure adequate food supplies in Zimbabwe and to help the country's neighbours withstand the impact of the recent drought.

While thanking those governments that have already contributed to this effort, he appealed to the international community to send urgently needed food and other assistance to the region. "I also urge governments in the region and donors to avoid politicization of food aid," the Secretary-General said.