Annan won’t give up despite Mugabe opposition

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Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he will continue his efforts to help Zimbabweans from outside the country. Annan said earlier that he had been told he could not enter Zimbabwe because he had backed sanctions against the government of President Robert Mugabe.

This comes after Annan, former US President Jimmy Carter and human rights advocate Graca Machel (all three part of a group called the ELDERS), were refused entry visas by Zimbabwe last week when they attempted to enter the country to assess the humanitarian crisis there.

Annan said, in a report Tuesday, ”I will keep trying to aid Zimbabweans in danger of starvation from the outside.

“Zimbabwe has not come out plainly to say they cannot handle it and they need assistance, but the fact is the UN agencies and the international community have been supporting the Zimbabwean people over the past couple of years,” he said.

“This of course is bound to continue and we expect it will get much worse by January and February,” Annan said.

He also said UN food agencies had predicted that by early next year, some 5.1 million Zimbabweans, “which is half the population will be facing starvation.

“Our concern is the people,” the former UN chief said.

“It is intolerable that the people of Zimbabwe should find themselves in this situation,” he noted.

The Elders said they planned a humanitarian mission to assess the situation in Zimbabwe and were not involved in efforts to form a unity government.

They also said they would remain in Johannesburg, gathering information on Zimbabwe.

The three met last Saturday with Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the op position Movement for Democratic Change.

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