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UN refutes claims that Ban is biased on Zimbabwe

UN refutes claims that Ban is biased on Zimbabwe

Comments by the Permanent Representative of Zimbabwe questioning Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's impartiality toward events in the Southern African nation are “highly inappropriate and unacceptable,” the spokesperson for the United Nations chief has stated.

“There is nothing one-sided about defending the right of the people of Zimbabwe to choose a legitimate government in a free and fair election,” according to a statement issued yesterday by Mr. Ban's spokesperson.

In recent weeks, Mr. Ban has criticized the outcome of the 27 June run-off presidential election in Zimbabwe – which went ahead despite international appeals for a postponement given the violence and intimidation that preceded it – as illegitimate.

“The outcome did not reflect the true and genuine will of the Zimbabwean people or produce a legitimate result,” his spokesperson said in a statement issued following the polls. “The Secretary-General has said repeatedly that conditions were not in place for a free and fair election and observers have confirmed this from the deeply flawed process.”

President Robert Mugabe was sworn in on 29 June for another term after being declared the winner of the run-off, in which he was the sole candidate after violence and intimidation directed towards the opposition forces led to the withdrawal of Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

“The Secretary-General will continue to support efforts to promote talks between both sides in Zimbabwe that can lead to a democratic transition and economic recovery for the people of that country,” yesterday's statement added.

On Friday, Security Council permanent members China and Russia vetoed a draft resolution – along with South Africa, Libya and Viet Nam – that would have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, including a travel ban and assets freeze on President Robert Mugabe and 12 other individuals.