With the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe claiming more lives every day and the stalemate over the formation of a new government still unresolved, Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier called on Sunday upon the African Union (AU) and regional organizations in Africa to take a firm and united stand vis-à-vis the country's leaders.
In a telephone call to Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe, Steinmeier welcomed the efforts of the current AU Presidency to convene a meeting hopefully this week with the presidents of eight African regional organizations and neighbouring countries to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe. According to Membe, the meeting should focus on how to contain the cholera outbreak and resolve the current political stalemate in the country.
In this connection Federal Minister Steinmeier today (14 December) issued the following statement in Berlin:
"The situation in Zimbabwe is unacceptable. The death toll from cholera and the rate of new infections are rising ever faster. The epidemic is further tragic confirmation of the failure of Mugabe's policies.
The planned AU meeting with the presidents of the regional organizations therefore needs to send a strong message making clear to Mugabe and his party that they will no longer be allowed to oppose the formation of a viable government reflecting the nation's stated will.
Together with our European partners we stand ready to help Zimbabwe deal with the current humanitarian crisis, rebuild the economy and also restore democracy and the rule of law."
Last week the Federal Foreign Office increased Germany's humanitarian aid in connection with the current cholera epidemic to a total of one million euro.