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Former UN Chief Annan Calls Situation in Zimbabwe 'Intolerable'


Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the situation in Zimbabwe is intolerable, and he is criticizing African leaders who cling to power too long.

Annan spoke out Sunday about some of the problems facing Africa during an address in Johannesburg, part of South Africa's celebration of former South African President Nelson Mandela's 89th birthday.

Annan says continuing violence in Sudan's Darfur region and the economic downturn in Zimbabwe are Africa's two most pressing crises.

The former U.N. chief, who was born in Ghana, cautioned Africans against a form of racism that unites citizens to rise up and expel tyrannical white rulers, but excuses tyrannical rulers who are black.

Although stability in Africa may be spreading, Annan says the dream of a continent at peace remains a distant goal.

Annan also criticized the world's richest nations for failing to deliver on their commitments to the developing world. He said promises of significant assistance by members of the Group of Eight are encouraging, but that the G-8's record on keeping such promises is "not very good."

Annan's critique of leaders who prolong their hold on power resonated with those looking at the career of former President Mandela, the subject of Sunday's ceremonies.

Nelson Mandela spent much of his life in prison, as an enemy of South Africa's former apartheid regime. He was released in 1990, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize three years later, and was elected president in South Africa's first fully representative presidential election. He stepped down as head of state voluntarily in 1999, at the end of his first term.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.
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