Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 30, 2009

The following statement was agreed upon by the countries attending a meeting of the Friends of Zimbabwe held in Berlin on October 26, 2009.

Participants: U.S., Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, European Commission (EC), EU Presidency (Sweden), EU Council Secretariat, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), United Nations

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The Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe has, since February 2009, taken a number of important and effective steps for the economic and social stabilization of the country. We welcome the progress that has resulted from these courageous measures and note that the lives of many Zimbabweans have since improved.

As friends and donors, we have closely followed and encouraged this process. We want the inclusive government to succeed in its determination to fully implement its programme as agreed in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) of 15 September 2008.

We have met in Berlin today against the background of the temporary suspension of the proceedings of the Inclusive Government, reflecting frustration about the slow pace of implementation of the Agreement. We urge all parties concerned to ensure that the current political crisis is resolved effectively without undue delay and in a manner consistent with the provisions of the GPA.

Zimbabwe has embarked on the road towards restoration of democracy and the rule of law. This is a process we hope will allow the country once again to realize its vast potential. In aligning ourselves with the broad national and regional consensus about the priorities of the current transitional period as laid down in the GPA, we reiterate our wish to see the Inclusive Government succeed in its task to build a framework for long term stabilization and recovery, better and more accountable governance, the re-establishment of the rule of law, and respect for human rights. We recognize the critical role of SADC as guarantor of the GPA and the organization's stake in ensuring its full implementation. We stand ready to join forces with SADC in our joint endeavour to assist Zimbabwe on its road to full recovery.

As a result of the signature of the GPA, we as a group have increased our support for the people of Zimbabwe, gradually shifting from measures aimed at purely humanitarian relief to substantial longer term assistance in a number of sectors which are crucial for the rapid improvement of living conditions for the people. In particular, we have greatly increased our assistance in the sectors of education, health, water management, food security and rural livelihoods. At this point in time support is not distributed via the Government budget.

While in 2008, total official development assistance to Zimbabwe (with in kind assistance, such as food aid, not being counted) was $580 million, we have, in 2009, to date allocated over $630 million. These figures include assistance in the above-mentioned fields and beyond. We as a group are determined to continue our assistance in 2010 in order to contribute to the Inclusive Government’s efforts to fully implement the GPA. We welcome the role that the UN agencies are playing and will continue to play, as both a channel of funding and of technical assistance, in support of the priorities of the Inclusive Government. We acknowledge the important role that civil society, national and international NGOs are playing in the process.

We are concerned that, eight months after the formation of the inclusive government, a number of key provisions of the Global Political Agreement remain to be implemented.

While work on the agreed GPA objectives has proceeded impressively in the financial, economic and social sectors, progress on the political track has been disappointing. This situation has been brought about by continued obstruction originating from political forces which continue to be hostile to the implementation of the GPA.

In particular, we note with concern the continuing deadlock on a range of outstanding issues. These include the unilateral appointment of the Attorney General and Reserve Bank Governor, the issue of the appointments of Provincial Governors, politically inspired violence and abuse of the judiciary including politically motivated arrests, continued farm invasions, delays to the land audit provided for in the GPA, the unilateral imposition of partners to owners of private wildlife conservancies, the disrespect of Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (BIPPAs), and the slow pace of progress on a range of issues agreed by the parties to the GPA aimed at improving freedom of the media, governance, human rights and exploitation of natural resources in accordance with internationally agreed standards.

We look forward to the completion of the Constitutional Review process which, if carried out in an inclusive and transparent manner, will lay the basis for timely internationally monitored or supervised free and fair elections. We stand ready to support this process.

Failure to address some of the central elements of the GPA not only undermines the ability of the IG to deliver the change which ordinary Zimbabweans expect, but also deters much-needed foreign investment and hampers Zimbabwe’s capacity to fully re-engage with the international community.
We consider these areas of concern to be major obstacles for Zimbabwe’s recovery and urge all parties to the GPA to address them without further delay so that the Government can operate in a truly inclusive manner.

The progress in the financial, economic and social sectors is already enabling greater engagement and support from the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank. We strongly support this as shareholders of these institutions, and we expect that the programmatic Multi Donor Trust Fund will soon be operational. We believe that full implementation of the GPA will contribute to re-engagement with the IFIs, including international support for a process towards clearing Zimbabwe’s arrears to international financial institutions, and assistance to the Inclusive Government in identifying its debt and making progress towards reducing it. We encourage the Government of Zimbabwe to formulate and implement a prudent and transparent debt management policy.

We urge the Zimbabwean Inclusive Government to further pursue sound and transparent financial, fiscal and economic policies conducive to bringing substantial benefits to its citizens. As these policies progress, our support for normalisation of relations with the International Financial Institutions will grow, and we will consider support for a proposal to restore IMF voting rights to Zimbabwe. We also reiterate our readiness to assist with the preparation of a national development framework to help ensure that international funds complement national resources once Zimbabwe has formulated its priorities.

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PRN: 2009/1086