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WEB POSTED 10-08-2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commonwealth defers action on Pres. Mugabe

LAGOS (IRIN)—Leaders of a three-member Commonwealth committee on Zimbabwe ended talks in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on agreement of fresh sanctions against President Robert Mugabe.

Australia’s John Howard, South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo were expected to review sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe in March following controversial elections—hotly disputed by the opposition and condemned by foreign observers—which returned Mugabe to power.

"There was a difference of opinion," Mr. Howard said at a late September press conference held jointly with Obasanjo and Mbeki.

"We’ve agreed that it’s necessary to continue to try to engage with President Mugabe in the interests of all the people of Zimbabwe," Mr. Mbeki was quoted as saying.

The Commonwealth, which unites Britain and 53 of its former colonies, set up the committee at the last summit of the group in Australia early this year.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst political and economic crisis since independence in 1980, with Mr. Mugabe’s policy of seizing White-owned farms under his land resettlement program coinciding with a severe drought affecting most of southern Africa.

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