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Mugabe to Attend UN General Assembly, Criticise West Sanctions

President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe is expected to arrive in New York on Saturday for the 68th session of the United Nations general assembly that opens at the UN headquarters Tuesday under the theme, ‘Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities’.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi in an interview with the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, has set the tone for Mr. Mugabe’s speech blaming sanctions for the country’s failure to meet the MDGs.

The eight millennium development goals – which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions, galvanizing efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.

Senior government sources told VOA Studio 7 that Mr. Mugabe will use his allocated speech time on Thursday to speak at length against the sanctions imposed on Harare by the EU, the United States, Canada and Australia, among others.

The UN general assembly is the main deliberative organ of the UN comprising all the 193 members of the world body. It provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of international issues covered by the UN charter.

International relations expert and former diplomat, Clifford Mashiri, told VOA Studio 7 Mr. Mugabe should not blame the sanctions for his government’s failures.