Press Releases

    SG/SM/8345*
    AFR/457*
    29 August 2002

    PHASED, FULLY FUNDED LAND REFORM PROGRAMME URGENTLY
    NEEDED IN ZIMBABWE, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS

    NEW YORK, 27 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was made today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Luanda, Angola:

    As you know, I am very worried about the deteriorating food situation in southern Africa. The United Nations system is already fully engaged in a comprehensive humanitarian effort to ensure adequate food supplies in Zimbabwe. This effort, which is led by the World Food Programme and supported by the international community, is also intended to help Zimbabwe’s neighbours withstand the impact of the recent drought.

    I am taking this opportunity to thank those governments that have already contributed to this effort and to reiterate my appeal to the international community to send food and other assistance to the region as a matter of urgency. I also urge governments in the region and donors to avoid politicization of food aid.

    As the risk of famine looms, I believe that a successful, sustainable land reform programme that will benefit all the people of Zimbabwe, especially the landless poor, is more important than ever.

    There can be no lasting solution to the current problems unless the Government of Zimbabwe implements a phased and fully funded land reform programme. It should be one that is run according to the rule of law, that allows for proper training and adequate support to new small farmers and compensation to displaced farm workers and commercial farmers. Such a land reform programme is urgently needed in order to minimize the negative effects of the current situation on food production and the overall economy in Zimbabwe. It would also ensure the engagement and future support of the international community.

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    * Reissued for technical reasons.