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« on: September 18, 2007, 08:26:20 PM »

Zimbabwe 'close to collapse'
Posted Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:29pm AEST

The latest report from the International Crisis Group has found Zimbabwe is close to complete collapse with four out of five people living below the poverty line and inflation running at 7,500 per cent.

The group is calling on the international community to close ranks behind South African President Thabo Mbeki's efforts to achieve a political settlement.

Mr Mbeki is trying to mediate between the governing Zanu-PF party and the Opposition MDC Party.

The independent think tank says the regional initiative is fragile as some Southern African leaders remain supporters of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

David Coltart, an MP with the Opposition MDC Party, wants the United Nations to do more.

"The UN attitude towards the Zimbabwean crisis has been pitiful," he said.

"We need a far more pro-active approach taken by the UN and in particular by the secretary general."

The British Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for Africa, Mark Malloch Brown, says countries other than Britain need to put pressure on Zimbabwe to bring about change.

"We will press but we can't go it alone on this," he said.

"This has got to be Africa and indeed for that matter, Europe and the rest of the world, who together combined insist on change in Zimbabwe.

"Our voice is very strong, but in a sense this point about the fact we were the former colonial power, means for our voice to be heard, others must join with us in this appeal.

"Southern African countries should also enlist a panel of retired African presidents to persuade Mr Mugabe to accept reforms and retire next year."

Zimbabwe 'close to collapse'
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