The Herald (Harare)

13 November 2012

Zimbabwe: ICG Distances Self From Crisis in Zimbabwe

The International Crisis Group has distanced itself from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

Speaking after paying a courtesy call on Vice President Joice Mujuru at her Munhumutapa Offices, International Crisis Group president and chief executive Ms Louise Arbour said the two organisations shared a similar name only. The ICG is headquartered in Brussels.

Ms Arbour said her organisation operated in several countries focusing on conflict resolution.

"This is my first visit to Zimbabwe and I am grateful that the Vice President was very generous with her time in meeting us," she said.

Ms Arbour said they had met several organisations and individuals to have an appreciation of the political situation in Zimbabwe.

She said VP Mujuru briefed her on the constitution-making process and other developments in Zimbabwe.

"She discussed how the constitution-making process has unfolded and expressed confidence that the remaining stages will be completed according to plan. We also discussed about women who have excelled in Zimbabwe, a subject that I was also interested in," she said.

Ms Arbour said she also met Zimbabwe Electoral Commission acting chairperson Mrs Joyce Kazembe who indicated that the electoral body was ready to conduct general elections if resources were put in place. "She (Mrs Kazembe) said the legislative framework and the commission was ready to conduct elections," she said.

Ms Arbour said she would meet more organisations before making a report on her findings.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross yesterday reiterated its commitment to work within the confines of the Zimbabwean laws.

ICRC's head of operations for Central and Southern Africa Mr Patrick Hote said this after meeting VP Mujuru yesterday. He said his organisation enjoyed a cordial relationship with the Government.

"We have a truthful and confident relationship with authorities here. We will continue working in Zimbabwe and if there is anything that we want we do it through the authorities," he said.

Mr Hote, who was accompanied by ICRC head of regional delegation Mr Pascal Cuttat, said his organisation was supporting various projects in Zimbabwe including polyclinics in Harare.

He said they were funding other projects by the Zimbabwe Prison Services and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces such as de-mining activities.

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