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Is Zimbabwe on the Security Council’s Agenda?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says it is. South Africa, this month’s president of the Security Council, however, doesn’t think so. From the AP’s Edith Lederer:

[South Africa's] U.N. Ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, insists that Zimbabwe is not on the agenda because the matter is being dealt with by the Southern African Development Community.

SADC leaders held a summit in Zambia that ended before dawn Sunday with a weak declaration that failed to criticize the absent Mugabe. The declaration called for the expeditious verification of election results in the presence of the candidates or their agents “within the rule of law,” and urged “all parties to accept the results when they are announced.”

South Africa has traditionally been criticized for not pushing Mugabe harder on reform, so punting the issue entirely to a regional organization seems a little suspicious. Kumalo, however, seems to recognize that such a pressing concern — the stalemate could possibly lead to the end of the Mugabe’s 28-year reign — likely can’t avoid mention at such a prominent Security Council meeting, particularly when the U.S., Britain, and France, have all indicated that they intend to discuss Zimbabwe.

‘Those are huge countries,’ Kumalo said. ‘They can raise whatever they want to raise and all I have said was that we don’t expect Zimbabwe to be discussed tomorrow (Wednesday). But they can raise anything.’

This is not just a power move by the “huge countries” of the West, of course. At a meeting dedicated to improving the UN’s cooperation with regional African organizations, it seems only appropriate to discuss how the UN, AU, and SADC can work together to ensure that Zimbabwe’s election results are determined freely, fairly, and transparently.

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Is Zimbabwe on the Security Council’s Agenda?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says it is. South Africa, this month’s president of the Security Council, however, doesn’t think so. From the AP’s Edith Lederer:

[South Africa's] U.N. Ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, insists that Zimbabwe is not on the agenda because the matter is being dealt with by the Southern African Development Community.

SADC leaders held a summit in Zambia that ended before dawn Sunday with a weak declaration that failed to criticize the absent Mugabe. The declaration called for the expeditious verification of election results in the presence of the candidates or their agents “within the rule of law,” and urged “all parties to accept the results when they are announced.”

South Africa has traditionally been criticized for not pushing Mugabe harder on reform, so punting the issue entirely to a regional organization seems a little suspicious. Kumalo, however, seems to recognize that such a pressing concern — the stalemate could possibly lead to the end of the Mugabe’s 28-year reign — likely can’t avoid mention at such a prominent Security Council meeting, particularly when the U.S., Britain, and France, have all indicated that they intend to discuss Zimbabwe.

‘Those are huge countries,’ Kumalo said. ‘They can raise whatever they want to raise and all I have said was that we don’t expect Zimbabwe to be discussed tomorrow (Wednesday). But they can raise anything.’

This is not just a power move by the “huge countries” of the West, of course. At a meeting dedicated to improving the UN’s cooperation with regional African organizations, it seems only appropriate to discuss how the UN, AU, and SADC can work together to ensure that Zimbabwe’s election results are determined freely, fairly, and transparently.

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Houston Chronicle on the Food Crisis

An editorial in today’s Houston Chronicle argues that for their own security, wealthy nations must act swiftly to confront the global food crisis.

Sparked by the high price and low availability of food, rioting on several continents has provided a sour taste of the unrest that could result from what experts report is a growing food crisis. It will take a coordinated, multinational effort to avert an international disaster of widespread starvation and violence.

According to the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Jacques Diouf, the world’s poorest countries can expect the cost of imported food to rise 56 percent, even though the world’s cereal production is forecast to increase slightly. That will spell extreme hardship for developing countries that already spend a large portion of their gross domestic product to buy food from abroad.
[snip]
When people are starving, governments destabilize, people fight for dwindling resources and refugee populations explode. So, providing aid that puts food on poor people’s plates is more than a mere humanitarian gesture. Food aid can be the salve that defuses the threat widespread starvation poses to world peace and security.

Read more.

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Houston Chronicle on the Food Crisis

An editorial in today’s Houston Chronicle argues that for their own security, wealthy nations must act swiftly to confront the global food crisis.

Sparked by the high price and low availability of food, rioting on several continents has provided a sour taste of the unrest that could result from what experts report is a growing food crisis. It will take a coordinated, multinational effort to avert an international disaster of widespread starvation and violence.

According to the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Jacques Diouf, the world’s poorest countries can expect the cost of imported food to rise 56 percent, even though the world’s cereal production is forecast to increase slightly. That will spell extreme hardship for developing countries that already spend a large portion of their gross domestic product to buy food from abroad.
[snip]
When people are starving, governments destabilize, people fight for dwindling resources and refugee populations explode. So, providing aid that puts food on poor people’s plates is more than a mere humanitarian gesture. Food aid can be the salve that defuses the threat widespread starvation poses to world peace and security.

Read more.

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Wednesday Morning Coffee

Top Stories

>>Russia – Vladimir Putin has confirmed that he will accept the reigns as head of United Russia, the nation’s dominant political party, as well as become prime minister of Russia, at the end of his presidency. Putin, however, will not become a member of that party. Some analysts see these developments as an important step toward Russia becoming more of a parliamentary democracy.

>>Olympics – The Olympic torch began its journey through Asia yesterday in Pakistan. It will continue on to India. Both nations “trimmed” their torch routes in fear of interruptions by protesters. The New York Times reports on the interesting history of the torch relay.

>>Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s Joint Operations Command, including the military, police, and intelligence agencies, took complete, though some say “temporary,” control over the national decision-making process in the days following the presidential election, according to a remarkable story in the Washington Post. That includes decisions of the electoral commission, which still refuses to release results from the election. According to sources in the article, the apparatus intends to relinquish control to Mugabe when it is no longer threatened by Tsvangirai, an individual with no military background. Also, a protest called by the opposition yesterday failed to take off.

>>Gaza – Jimmy Carter will meet with two senior Hamas officials in Cairo on Wednesday. Both the U.S. and Israel have called on the former president to shun the group. Government ministers refused to meet with him during his stay in Israel this week. Carter has billed his trip as a “study” mission.

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Wednesday Morning Coffee

Top Stories

>>Russia – Vladimir Putin has confirmed that he will accept the reigns as head of United Russia, the nation’s dominant political party, as well as become prime minister of Russia, at the end of his presidency. Putin, however, will not become a member of that party. Some analysts see these developments as an important step toward Russia becoming more of a parliamentary democracy.

>>Olympics – The Olympic torch began its journey through Asia yesterday in Pakistan. It will continue on to India. Both nations “trimmed” their torch routes in fear of interruptions by protesters. The New York Times reports on the interesting history of the torch relay.

>>Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s Joint Operations Command, including the military, police, and intelligence agencies, took complete, though some say “temporary,” control over the national decision-making process in the days following the presidential election, according to a remarkable story in the Washington Post. That includes decisions of the electoral commission, which still refuses to release results from the election. According to sources in the article, the apparatus intends to relinquish control to Mugabe when it is no longer threatened by Tsvangirai, an individual with no military background. Also, a protest called by the opposition yesterday failed to take off.

>>Gaza – Jimmy Carter will meet with two senior Hamas officials in Cairo on Wednesday. Both the U.S. and Israel have called on the former president to shun the group. Government ministers refused to meet with him during his stay in Israel this week. Carter has billed his trip as a “study” mission.

Yesterday in UN Dispatch

The Rest of the Story


Africa

Americas

Asia

Europe

Middle East

Leave a comment

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