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Joint statement on Zimbabwe with the governments of Canada and New Zealand.



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The Hon Stephen Smith MP AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Media release

10 October 2008

Joint Statement on Zimbabwe with the Governments of Canada and New Zealand The governments of Canada, Australia and New Zealand are gravely concerned about the ongoing unacceptable political and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.

Three weeks after signature of a power-sharing Agreement among the major political parties in Zimbabwe on 15 September, a Zimbabwean government still has not been formed.

The needs of the Zimbabwean people are urgent. Among the many problems facing them are critical shortages of food and clean water. Economic conditions continue to deteriorate, increasing the number of people suffering from poverty and hunger.

We urge the parties to resolve their differences and agree as soon as possible on the appointment of a Zimbabwean government that reflects the Agreement of 15 September, and the will of the Zimbabwe people as expressed in the 29 March elections.

We support the vital role of Zimbabwe's neighbours - in particular South Africa, and also the Southern African Development Community and the African Union - to assist Zimbabwe at this critical juncture, and into the future.

The governments of Canada, Australia and New Zealand have provided and continue to provide critical humanitarian assistance to the people of Zimbabwe. This assistance will continue in response to identified needs. We call on the government of Zimbabwe to ensure full, safe and unhindered access to humanitarian partners, and we stand ready with international partners to engage with a new and genuinely representative Zimbabwean government that is genuinely committed to reform, the welfare and human rights of the country’s citizens, and the rule of law.

Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

13/10/2008 http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/releases/2008/fa-s081010.html