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24.com

10 Juli 2008

Zim crisis could affect Moz

 
druckversion
 
2008-7-10 18:19
Maputo - A key architect of the peace deal which ended Mozambique's 16 year civil war said on Thursday the country's fledgling democracy could be endangered by the crisis across its western border in Zimbabwe.

"We are concerned that the political crisis in Zimbabwe could affect democracy in Mozambique," Andrea Riccardi, the founder of the Italian organisation Sant Egidio, told reporters in the Mozambican capital Maputo.

Thousands of Zimbabweans have already fled east to escape an economic meltdown in their homeland and Riccardi warned many more would follow if post-election violence escalates further, potentially destabilising the delicate political balance in Mozambique.

"Judging by the countries' geographical position, Mozambique will be obliged to provide solutions if a worse situation like a war breaks out and this could threaten its own democracy," Riccardi said.

Riccardi, in Maputo to celebrate his organisation's 40th anniversary, said he was concerned by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's intolerance of critics.

The Italian said Mugabe played a significant role in brokering peace between Mozambique's warring Renamo and Frelimo parties which halted their conflict in 1992 with the signing of the Rome Accord at the head office of Sant Egidio.

"I knew Mugabe through our negotiations between Renamo and Frelimo to end 16 years of civil war in Mozambique and his contribution was very good, but now he seems to have changed so much,' said Riccardi after holding talks with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza.

"We think the opposition politicians in Zimbabwe have their rights and they need to be respected," he said.

Zimbabwe has been hit by growing political violence since a disputed first round of presidential elections in March.


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