Alarmed by desperate humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe,

United Nations Secretary-General
Alarmed by desperate humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, Secretary-General
voices regret at decision not to cooperate with Elders' assistance

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General is alarmed that the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe

is now desperate and will worsen in the coming months. He is deeply

concerned that nearly half of the total population of 12 million could

require food assistance, and by reports that many households are now cutting

back the number of meals eaten each day. He is distressed at the collapse of

health, sanitation and education services, and the consequent rapidly

escalating cholera outbreak. The Secretary-General urges all parties to

support and provide humanitarian assistance, leaving political

considerations aside.

The Secretary-General supports the humanitarian initiative on Zimbabwe

offered by The Elders and regrets the decision of the Government of Zimbabwe

not to cooperate with their timely, well-intended effort to assist the

people of Zimbabwe. The Secretary-General hopes that another mission can

take place in the near future, given the rapidly deteriorating situation in

the country.

The Secretary-General calls on the Zimbabwean parties meeting in South

Africa today to rapidly reach an agreement on the formation of a new

Government consistent with the letter and spirit of the 15 September

agreement. The people of Zimbabwe cannot afford another failure by their

political leadership to reach a fair and workable agreement that would allow

Zimbabwe to tackle the formidable challenges ahead.

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