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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 15305

Weekly Radio Message - Zimbabwe

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 19/03/2007

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 15305

E&OE...

Listen to this Speech (MP3 - 2.00Mb - 131secs)

All Australians are appalled by the barbaric actions of the Zimbabwean Government in violently suppressing the activities of their political opponents.

The Australian ambassador in Zimbabwe has paid daily visits to the Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai and other leaders in hospital after their beatings by Zimbabwean Government authorities.

For years Australia and other western countries have regularly called for change in Zimbabwe to prevent that country's slide into chaos and despair.

The Mugabe Government's disastrous policies have crippled a once thriving economy. Zimbabweans are enduring hyperinflation nearing 1800 per cent; over 80 per cent of the population is unemployed and living below the poverty line; and Zimbabweans have the lowest life expectancy of any country in the world.

Australia calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to respect the rule of law and the civil and political rights of its citizens; to cease its violations of international law and to return Zimbabwe to the fold of civilised nations.

Australia has imposed progressively strengthened travel bans and financial sanctions against members of the Government of Zimbabwe since 2002. We'll also be working with other concerned countries to place greater pressure on the Zimbabwean leadership including by allowing the situation to be considered by the United Nations and its Human Rights Council.

One of the major reasons why Robert Mugabe has remained in power and presided over the terrible destruction of his country is that neighbouring countries, particularly South Africa, have failed to exert the pressure they could have brought to bear to influence Zimbabwe.

The reality is that only the leaders of these African countries enjoy the historic leverage to sway Mugabe. Nothing short of his peaceful departure from office can offer hope to this tragic country.

The world community led by the governments in southern Africa should set about achieving this objective.

[ends]

Listen to this Speech (MP3 - 2.00Mb - 131secs)

Transcript 15305