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Mugabe hails charitable work of UN agencies
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18:09, February 24, 2009

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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has appreciated the charitable work that is being undertaken by UN agencies currently involved in the fight against cholera and in the provision of food assistance in the country, ZBC News reported on Tuesday.

Mugabe said this during a meeting with visiting UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Director for Emergency Relief Co-ordination Catherine Bragg, who arrived in the country at the weekend.

Bragg is in the country following discussions held by President Mugabe and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in Addis Ababa recently during an AU Summit.

The delegation is on a mission to assess the country's needs in the face of the cholera epidemic which has claimed over a thousand lives. The mission is also assessing the food security situation given the poor season last year and the current cropping season.

The delegation met several government ministers, some nongovernmental organizations and will carry out visits to Hwedza, Ruwa and some cholera treatment areas before compiling their report.

"We will never, never fail to acknowledge that charitable work that is being carried out by your agencies in this country," said Mugabe during the meeting with Bragg.

World Food Program, UNICEF, WHO and UNDP were all represented at the meeting.

The President, who recently swore in a new cabinet, also explained to Bragg that the inclusive government, which was put in place to operate for the next 12 to 18 months, is working well.

He took the opportunity to clarify the issue of the so-called abductees saying those facing allegations, some of which are very serious allegations will appear before the courts and as such the law should take its course.

Mugabe further ruled out the existence of abductees and explained that his prerogative of exercising mercy can only be considered after the courts have completed their work.

The President also called for the lifting of sanctions saying they have caused untold suffering among the people and added that Zimbabwe's expectations are that the UN should not be abused by the powerful nations. "No matter how powerful they are, we will oppose them and we will resist them. We are frank here and unafraid," Mugabe declared.

Bragg described the meetings so far as very fruitful. The UN team is expected to compile a report at the end of the assessment visit.


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