Top UN envoy attends signing of power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe

Haile Menkerios, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, conveyed Mr. Ban’s congratulations to President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, stressing the need to cooperate to implement the deal.

He also expressed the UN’s readiness to support emergency relief initiatives and longer-term recovery efforts once the new Government made clear what their needs and priorities are.

The envoy, who met with the UN Country Team in the capital, served as the UN’s high-level representative to the Reference Group, set up by South African President Thabo Mbeki to support steps to end the political crisis and resulting violence, unrest and humanitarian suffering that have engulfed Zimbabwe since the first round of national elections in March.

“The role of the Secretary General and his support of the mediation process through the UN’s role in the reference group was acknowledged by the parties and by President Mbeki in their statements” at today’s signing, Farhan Haq, a spokesperson for the world body, told reporters.

Mr. Menkerios will depart Zimbabwe tomorrow to return to New York.

Welcoming the deal when it was announced last week, the Secretary-General said he “hopes that this agreement will pave the way for a durable peace and recovery in the country and contribute to rapid improvement in the welfare and human rights of the people of Zimbabwe, who have suffered for long,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.