AU in dilemma over Zimbabwe's representation at summit

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The African Union (AU) said here Tuesday that it was yet to decide on who will be accredited to represent Zimbabwe at the 12th summit billed to start in the Ethiopian capital on 1 February.
AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping said that the organization would not make a definite decision until the secretariat gets the green-light from Zimbabwe, which is steeped in a political turmoil.
A power-sharing deal signed by the government and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) five months ago has yet to be implemented, due to a disagreement over the sharing of key portfolios.
"We invite governments and not individuals.
It is upon the governments to tell who will be coming for the meeting to enable us give them accreditation.
We shall wait until Zimbabweans tell us," Ping said.
He, however, added that he would not be surprised if President Robert Mugabe, shows up for the heads of state summit, which this time round will take three days instead of the traditional two.
"I cannot confirm who is coming from Zimbabwe.
We are caught in a dilemma as to who we shall give the four badges reserved for government representatives.
In as far I can remember, Mugabe never missed any AU meeting," Ping said.
This year's summit is a crucial one for Africa, as it is expected to take definite decisions on the formation of a union government and infrastructure development to hasten socio-economic integration of the continent.
Ping was speaking a day after the Southern African Development Community (SADC) announced a three-phase timeline to break the political deadlock that has precipitated humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, including a cholera epidemic that has claimed 3,000 lives and infected over 60,000 others.
During this week's talks chaired by South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, it was resolved that parliament passes into law the power sharing deal by 5 February, paving the way for Tsvangirai to be sworn in as the country's prime minister on 11 February.
Zimbabwe, once an African showcase of economic stability and food security, began a downward spiral into socioeconomic doldrums nearly a decade ago, when President Mugabe began acquiring land previously owned by white farmers and distributing it to landless blacks, who lacked the financial resources to maintain the momentum of agricultural production.

27 january 2009 11:28:00




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