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Ban Ki-moon Urges Mugabe to Seal Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Deal


U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon is urging Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, to seal a power-sharing deal with opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, for the sake of his people and his legacy as an African leader.

Mr. Ban says he is deeply disturbed by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe and by the many breaches of international humanitarian law. He says the leadership cannot evade its responsibility.

He says he relayed these and other concerns to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during, what he calls, a very tense private meeting with him in Doha two weeks ago.

He says he pressed Mugabe to accept the power sharing agreement reached on September 15 with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. But, received no positive response.

"I have urged as hard as I could to honor his commitment as a political leader and as president of Zimbabwe, to leave his legacy in a positive way…He should really look for the future of his country and his own people who have been suffering too much, too long from this political turmoil and now coupled with very serious humanitarian tragedies," he said.

Mr. Ban would not say whether he supported calls by Western and some African leaders for Robert Mugabe to step down. They blame the Zimbabwean president for the political turmoil in his country and say he bears responsibility for the cholera outbreak, which is devastating the country.

President Mugabe said this week that the cholera epidemic is under control. But, the U.N. secretary-general says reports from the World Health Organization and other agencies present a different picture.

"The reports, which I have been receiving…are alarming," he said. "There are still many people who are suffering from this epidemic and the borders between Zimbabwe and neighboring countries are now in danger of being affected by this cholera. Therefore, I cannot agree that the cholera epidemic was over," Mr. Mugabe said.

Mr. Ban says the United Nations will continue to monitor and help the people in Zimbabwe.

The World Health Organization reports cholera now has infected 16,700 people and killed nearly 800. It warns as many as 60,000 people could become infected with the disease if it is not quickly contained.

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