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U.S. Food Assistance Diplomat in Zimbabwe Assessment

The U.S. representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program arrived in Harare Thursday to assess the humanitarian and food security situation in Zimbabwe, suffering not only from drought but from the effects of the government’s May-July slum-clearance drive, which left thousands homeless.

Mr. Hall, a former U.S. congressman from Dayton, Ohio, was appointed to the Rome post in 2002. He served in the Peace Corps in Thailand in 1966-67, was awarded the Shriver Award for humanitarian service in 1994, and has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. As a U.S. congressman he was chairman of the House Select Committee on Hunger and the Democratic Caucus Task Force on Hunger.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe filed a report.

Though Mr. Hall is visiting in his capacity as U.S. representative to the Rome-based U.N. food organizations, his status as a senior U.S. foreign service official was not without political implications. The U.S. government has been highly critical of Harare and has imposed economic sanctions and travel restrictions on its top officials.

Reporter Patience Rusere spoke with political analyst Ernest Mudzengi, an official of the National Constitutional Assembly, a civic organization focused on broad-based reform of the Zimbabwean constitution, about the significance of Mr. Hall’s visit.

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