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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 December, 2003, 23:09 GMT
Full text: Statement on Zimbabwe
Full text of statement from the Commonwealth regarding the situation in Zimbabwe.

Commonwealth heads of government discussed the situation in Zimbabwe.

They agreed to establish a committee consisting of the heads of government of Australia, Canada, India, Jamaica, Mozambique and South Africa to examine the way forward.

It was agreed that the prime minister of Jamaica would be the chairman of the committee.

In discussing the issue the committee was guided by the following considerations:

  • The commitment of all Commonwealth countries to adhere to the principles embodied in the Harare Declaration and the need to address the issues raised in the Marlborough House statement of 19 March 2002

  • The earnest desire to facilitate the early return of Zimbabwe to the councils of the Commonwealth

  • The determination to promote national reconciliation in Zimbabwe

  • Deep concern for the people of Zimbabwe and the desire to assist towards a return to normalcy and economic prosperity

The committee also welcomed the tireless efforts of Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, South African President Thabo Mbeki, Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and others to encourage and assist the process of national reconciliation and urged them not to relent.

It reaffirmed the importance of supporting and consolidating democracy, ensuring peace and harmony and promoting development and growth in Zimbabwe.

Heads of government endorsed the committee's recommendations and decided as follows:

  • Heads of government affirmed the Commonwealth's commitment to encourage and assist the process of national reconciliation

  • Heads of government mandated the chairperson-in-office (Obasanjo), assisted by the Commonwealth secretary general, to engage with the parties concerned to encourage and facilitate continued progress and the return of Zimbabwe to the councils of the Commonwealth and - in this regard - express support for the intention of the chairperson-in-office to visit Zimbabwe at an early opportunity

  • At an appropriate time when the chairperson-in-office believed sufficient progress had been made, he would consult the committee

  • Provided there were consensus in the committee that sufficient progress had been made on the issues of concern, the chairperson-in-office would consult with Commonwealth leaders on the return of Zimbabwe to the councils of the Commonwealth

The BBC's James Robbins
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