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McKinnon lobbies African leaders

WHILE in Pretoria to attend President Thabo Mbeki’s inauguration this week, Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon lobbied African leaders to find a resolution to Zimbabwe’s deepening crisis.

ana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Since Zimbabwe’s indefinite suspension and subsequent pullout from the Commonwealth last December, President Robert Mugabe has attacked the world-wide body and called it evil.

“The chemistry between the Commonwealth and Zimbabwe is clearly not conducive” to the 54-nation group trying to be directly involved in any diplomatic efforts, said McKinnon.

“Other leaders are talking to President Mugabe. Many African leaders want to see that Zimbabwe returns to the Commonwealth family. Zimbabwe has an important place in the Commonwealth,” he said between meetings with African heads of state. “We will work with African members, and others, to help resolve Zimbabwe’s problems.”

Looking towards Zimbabwe’s 2005 parliamentary elections, McKinnon said:”Zimbabwe is out of the Commonwealth so we are unlikely to be asked to observe the elections. But as long as Zimbabwe adheres to the Southern African Development Community norms and standards for democratic elections, then it would be a great step forward as it would reflect the free will of the people. If the Zimbabwean elections were held on the same basis as the South African elections, that would go a long way towards solving Zimbabwe’s problems.” – Special Correspondent.

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