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UN offers to help to resolve political crisis in Zimbabwe

UN offers to help to resolve political crisis in Zimbabwe

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe
The United Nations stands ready to support regional diplomacy to help end the political crisis in Zimbabwe, where violence has flared after last month’s presidential elections, the world body’s political chief, B. Lynn Pascoe, said today.

Speaking after briefing the Security Council, Mr. Pascoe said he had a great deal of concern about violence in the country, particularly from the Government’s side, though he added that there had been reports of violence from both sides.

He said that the Secretary-General was ready to use his “good offices” to work alongside the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help resolve Zimbabwe’s problems.

Mr. Pascoe also said he was very concerned about the humanitarian situation, stating that the political turmoil had prevented some aid agencies from delivering food and other relief.

Unrest and violence have been widespread in Zimbabwe following the 29 March presidential election, in which the incumbent Robert Mugabe was challenged by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Full results of that poll have still not been announced.

Mr. Pascoe’s comments echo an earlier statement by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, who called on the country’s political leaders to restrain their supporters and renounce the use of threats, intimidation and violence against opponents.