Annan, Carter not allowed into Zimbabwe

November 22nd, 2008 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, Nov 22 (Xinhua) Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and former US president Jimmy Carter have cancelled their planned visit to Zimbabwe on a humanitarian mission after they were denied entry visas. “We had hoped to go to Zimbabwe this morning but we had to cancel because the (Zimbabwe) government has made it clear they will not cooperate,” Annan told reporters here Saturday.

Annan, Carter and rights activist Graca Machel, wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, announced last week that they would visit Zimbabwe this weekend.

The mission was expected to assess the country’s humanitarian needs as Zimbabweans are stalked by disease and hunger while a protracted political crisis has made matters worse.

The Zimbabwe government Thursday advised them to defer their intended visit to a later date as Zimbabwean leaders were currently occupied with talks for a unity government and the country was busy preparing for the summer cropping season.

In his statement issued earlier, Annan said they had no intention of interfering in the talks on Zimbabwe’s unity government and the visit was aimed at making a first-hand assessment of the humanitarian situation in the country.

The ruling and opposition parties of Zimbabwe signed a power-sharing deal in September but have failed to agree on the allocation of key ministries.

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