AU ministers to adopt special declaration on Zimbabwe

Sharm El Sheikh- Egypt (PANA) -- African foreign ministers kicked off a two-day m eeting here Friday ahead of the leaders' summit with the African Union (AU) Comm i ssion Chief Jean Ping, calling for a special declaration on Zimbabwe to be agree d upon.
The AU Chief later held private talks with Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Shimbaras he Mumbengegwi on the sidelines of the AU's Executive Council meeting, which coi n cided with the start of the voting process in Zimbabwe's second round presidenti a l vote.
In a speech that largely excluded direct reference to the Zimbabwean political c risis, Ping told the ministers of the urgency of signing into the Union's electi o ns accord, before declaring in the last paragraph of his speech that a declarati o n on Zimbabwe be adopted.
The AU Chief was briefly applauded for the announcement before holding talks wit h the Zimbabwean foreign minister.
The minister declined to take questions from j ournalists but pledged to grant an interview exclusively to a Chinese media orga n isation.
"We can speak only to China that we can do without problems," the Zimbabwean min ister said before walking away under tight security.
Ping said Africa would not allow the issue of delayed election results to add to its array of economic and social problems, emphasising that though significant p rogress had been made in enhancing democracy, elections were adding to violent c o nflicts.
"We have to confront the issue of delayed results which is bringing a situation that is detrimental to the peace in our continent.
We will brainstorm on the gen e ral conduct of elections and submit a report," Ping told the opening session of t he ministers' conference.
Zimbabwean authorities have defied international appeals and pressure not to con duct the second round presidential elections, which kicked off Friday with atten d ance viewed as low key.
The AU has deployed observer missions to observe the one-horse race there.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai , pulled out of the presidential race days to the poll, putting the credibility o f the polls into question.

27 june 2008 11:56:00

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