Joint Nordic Statement by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs on the situation in Zimbabwe

The Nordic Ministers of Foreign Affairs align themselves with the recent statement made by the UN Security Council, condemning the political violence in Zimbabwe and calling on the Government of Zimbabwe to stop the violence, to cease political intimidation, to end the restrictions on the right of assembly and to release the political leaders who have been detained.

The Nordic countries’ relationship with the SADC countries is based on a shared commitment to peace, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in southern Africa.

The developments in Zimbabwe in which one Presidential candidate has been forced to withdraw are therefore particularly shocking. Violence and state-supported terror have entirely undermined the credibility of the forthcoming elections and the humanitarian situation has deteriorated dramatically. The process must already be considered as being in violation of every principle of free and fair elections.

Last week, the Nordic Prime Ministers issued a statement on the necessity for SADC to increase its involvement in and its influence over Zimbabwe. The conclusions of the European Council of 20 June also highlight the serious situation in Zimbabwe.

The present situation in Zimbabwe has implications for the stability of the entire region. In light of the close relationship that exists between the Nordic countries and the SADC countries, we call on and expect a collective and determined reaction on the part of the SADC countries to find a solution to the crisis, a solution which respects the democratic will of the people of Zimbabwe. We welcome the efforts and clear position on this issue taken by among others Zambia, which holds the Chairmanship of SADC. We further call on the AU to take an active part in contributing to solving the situation in Zimbabwe.

The situation which has led MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to seek protection at the Dutch Embassy in Harare is of grave concern. The Nordic Foreign Ministers demand that the safety of Mr Tsvangirai be guaranteed.

Violence must cease and the foundation must be laid for a future democratic, legitimate and reform-minded government in Zimbabwe. The Nordic countries are prepared to give strong support to the reconstruction efforts of such a government. This ambition is of central importance to the relationship between the Nordic and SADC countries.