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Home | ZimCrisis#59 -- Further US Reaction to the Non-Accreditation

Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 18:22:52 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis#59 -- Further US Reaction to the Non-Accreditation of Observers
Cc: "Australian government":;, "British government":;,
"Canadian government":
;, "South African government":;,
Commonwealth:;, "NG organisations":;, "African press":;,
"Foreign press":;

Hi everyone,

My apologies for the oversight in my last message (#58, which went to a limited audience) for exposing the e-mail addresses of some members of the press.


Daily Press Briefing Index
Thursday, June 22, 2000

Briefer: Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman

9-10 Deadline for Accreditation of Election Observers / U.S. Delegation

DPB #64
THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 2000, 2:10 P.M.

QUESTION: Zimbabwe. I think today is what was the deadline for accreditation of observers and I also see that a member of the opposition has been beaten to death. Do you have anything to add today on events in Zimbabwe?

MR. REEKER: Sure. No one had anything further on Slovakia, did they?

As you noted, today is the deadline for accreditation of election observers. The United States is seeking to accredit an official delegation and we have an outstanding request with the Government of Zimbabwe for accreditation of a US delegation further to what I discussed yesterday.

We are urging the Government of Zimbabwe to grant all international observers who have applied for accreditation today to meet the deadline to grant them their accreditation. I think as I noted yesterday, it's highly unusual for diplomats in a country to be refused electoral accreditation by a host government. We don't recall any recent elections in which a government has taken this position and we are very disappointed that the Government of Zimbabwe has decided to take this position, which will undermine the credibility of their election.

Just to clarify some of your questions yesterday, it is our understanding that all diplomats resident in Zimbabwe have been refused accreditation, not just US diplomats. We have deplored the Zimbabwean Government's earlier refusal to accredit election observer delegations. Our delegation was to include members of the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, as well as Embassy personnel. And, as I noted, we are continuing to request accreditation of an official observer delegation. These limitations on access for observers will detract from the credibility and really tarnish Zimbabwe's reputation.

Our diplomats will, of course, monitor other aspects of the election process this weekend as best they can but, without the accreditation, they cannot observe the actual polling and the vote counting processes. So pursuant to the second part of your question, we have repeatedly stated our concern about the violent election climate in Zimbabwe and the denial of accreditation to international observers ties right into that.

We can't prejudge election results. But, as much as we can, we will be monitoring the process there. I note that there was some strong rhetoric recently from Zimbabwe which seemed to encourage violence.

We deplore the use of such rhetoric encouraging violence, no matter which party is responsible, and we strongly urge the leaders of all the parties in Zimbabwe to refrain from violent rhetoric. We urge them to restrain their supporters from violent actions that will undermine a secure voting environment. We really believe it's very important to the democratic process that all Zimbabweans feel safe when they exercise their democratic rights this weekend. And it's the Government and the President of Zimbabwe who have special obligations as the leaders of the country to ensure that they contribute to a secure and transparent atmosphere for these elections.

So we're calling upon them to fulfill those responsibilities, actively discourage violence, intimidation or other efforts to disrupt the elections.

QUESTION: When you say you are seeking to accredit an official delegation, you just mean of diplomats who are based in Harare or is it a wider delegation with people from outside?

MR. REEKER: We have an outstanding request now with the government for accreditation of a US delegation that includes US officials from the Embassy in Harare and others. And that remains at this hour an outstanding request. We are urging the government to grant our request and, frankly, again to grant all international observers the accreditation they need to monitor these elections in accordance with general international standards.

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