African Press International (API)

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Mugabe seems to have big friends with money – Chinese will keep him in power

Posted by African Press International on December 9, 2008

China considering humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe

China said Tuesday it was considering sending food and other aid to Zimbabwe, but would not seek to mediate in the political chaos that has plunged the African country into a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Associated Press Writer

BEIJING China said Tuesday it was considering sending food and other aid to Zimbabwe, but would not seek to mediate in the political chaos that has plunged the African country into a worsening humanitarian crisis.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman urged Zimbabwe’s politicians to form a power-sharing government, but did not repeat calls from world leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, for President Robert Mugabe to step down.

“China sincerely wishes the relevant parties in Zimbabwe to proceed with the interests of the nation and their people to form a solidarity government at an early date,” spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

Liu said China said provision of “emergency humanitarian assistance, including food assistance” to Zimbabwe was under discussion, but did not say when Beijing would make a decision.

China would “try our best to send these materials to the hands of the Zimbabwe people,” Liu said.

Beijing has a rapidly growing presence in Africa, with trade between the two reaching $55.5 billion in 2006, up more than fivefold from 2000. China has been criticized by Western governments and interest groups for supporting corrupt regimes on the continent, including those in Zimbabwe and Sudan, which has been wracked by years of bloody civil war.

Once one of Africa’s most prosperous nations, Zimbabwe has seen its economy almost completely collapse under Mugabe. Elections held last March were widely denounced for murderous attacks on the opposition, and Mugabe reluctantly joined a power-sharing government designed by international mediators. But negotiations on the distribution of Cabinet positions have deadlocked.

At least a quarter of Zimbabwe’s population has fled the country and many of those who remain are surviving on leaves and roots. Hundreds have died in a cholera outbreak, with thousands of deaths likely going unreported due to the collapse of the health system.

AP

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