Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Commonwealth Observer Group to monitor Zimbabwe elections.



Download PDFDownload PDF

Media releases and speeches are available from DFAT via the internet. http://www.dfat.gov.au/

MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

FA18 6 February 2002

COMMONWEALTH OBSERVER GROUP TO MONITOR ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS

I welcome the deployment of an advance party of the Commonwealth Observer Group for the Presidential elections to be held in Zimbabwe on 9 and 10 March. The advance party will begin work in Zimbabwe almost immediately. A larger group of 33, supported by 13 officials from the Commonwealth Secretariat, will be deployed on 23 February.

The Observer Group will be representative of the wide cross-section of Commonwealth countries. I am pleased to announce that the Commonwealth Secretary-General has invited a highly qualified Australian, former Electoral Commissioner Mr Bill Gray AM, to join the advance party. Mr Gray will travel to Zimbabwe in the next few days and remain with the group until after the election. A second Australian is likely to join the full Observer Group closer to the election.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, of which I am a member, called for the immediate deployment of Commonwealth election observers at its meeting on 30 January. I hope that the Observer Group will be able to move freely around Zimbabwe and that their presence will help to create an environment in which all parties can campaign free of violence and intimidation, thereby allowing the people of Zimbabwe to make an unfettered and informed choice in the election.

Media inquiries: Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 / 0419 206 890 Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) 02 6261 1555