Minister Dermot Ahern Expresses Concern Over Zimbabwe Elections
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, T.D., today called for full compliance with regional guidelines on democratic elections in the conduct of this weekend’s presidential and parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe.
Commenting on his arrival in Slovenia today for an EU Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, the Minister said: “The elections to be held tomorrow should represent a critical moment for the future of Zimbabwe and its people. I am disappointed that no observers from the European Union or other western countries with extensive experience of election observation have been invited to monitor these elections. This places an even greater onus on those, chiefly the African Union and SADC (Southern African Development Community) who have been invited to send monitors, to act as the eyes and ears of the international community over the coming critical days.”
The Minister continued: “Ireland and its EU partners continue to believe that working closely with Zimbabwe’s neighbours and others on the African continent represents the best means of trying to influence positively the current situation in Zimbabwe. SADC has issued important principles and guidelines concerning the conduct of democratic elections which all its members, including Zimbabwe, should uphold. Neither Zimbabwe nor its neighbours can afford a continuation of the current political and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe which has left up to one-third of Zimbabweans dependant on food aid and has contributed to over 3 million Zimbabweans being forced to leave their country.”
“Ireland, for its part, in conjunction with our EU partners, stands ready to assist in any way we can a genuine process of political and economic reform in Zimbabwe in the coming months. We will also continue to address the critical humanitarian situation, including through the provision of further humanitarian assistance to Irish and international NGOs and missionaries who, with UN agencies, continue to perform such a vital role in assisting the Zimbabwean population.”
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