Secretary-General welcomes regional initiatives to hold talks on Zimbabwe power-sharing government

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The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General welcomes the initiative of regional leaders to hold a summit of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) security troika today in Harare. This summit provides a critical opportunity for the leaders to finalize in good faith the formation of the new Government based on an equitable division of power, and to move swiftly to implement the 15 September agreement on resolving the many serious challenges facing Zimbabwe. The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations' willingness to support Zimbabwe throughout this delicate transition process and to work with regional leaders and the international community to provide immediate relief to the suffering of its people.

The Secretary- General remains distressed about the growing human cost of the crisis in Zimbabwe, in particular given the signs that the humanitarian situation in the country may worsen in the course of 2008 and 2009. He is deeply concerned that the population of Zimbabwe in both rural and urban areas faces many challenges, including critical shortages of all food, essential drugs, basic services and clean water. It is urgent to resolve the ongoing political impasse so that recovery can begin.

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