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UN Officials: No Annan Visit to Harare Until Conditions Met


United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is continuing to insist that Zimbabwe meet certain conditions before he will visit the country, U.N. officials said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Annan, Marie Okabe, said the secretary general’s position has not changed and that any visit to Harare must be properly prepared. This was contrary to a report in the government-controlled Herald newspaper that President Robert Mugabe on Saturday discussed an impending visit with Mr. Annan.

U.N. chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric outlined conditions to be satisfied before Mr. Annan would make the visit mooted in July: a halt to government evictions of those living in unauthorized structures; the unhindered distribution of humanitarian aid in the country; and the opening of a dialogue with all parties and civil society groups.

Another U.N. official said Mr. Mugabe rejected these terms.

Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the United States and Britain had politicized Mr. Annan’s visit.

Political analyst Herman Honekom, parliamentary liaison officer for the Africa Institute of South Africa, said Mr. Mugabe himself is to blame for the controversy over the visit, as Mr. Mugabe would rather not have Mr. Annan witness conditions for himself.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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