EU chief says Zimbabweans want change

Other News Materials 9 April 2008 17:53 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Saying Zimbabweans want change, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday urged President Robert Mugabe to favour a "peaceful transition" towards full democracy in his poverty-stricken country.

"One thing should be made very clear to Mr Mugabe and his entourage: the people of Zimbabwe want a change," Barroso said in Brussels.

"They want democracy, they want freedom", and a government that is able to tackle poverty and "the economic chaos that they are living through," Barroso added.

The president of the EU executive said he expected all those with a role to play in Zimbabwean politics to contribute to a "peaceful transition" towards a "fully democratic situation."

More than 10 days have passed since the presidential election was held, but government officials have yet to announce the official results of the vote, which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims it has won.

On Wednesday, the MDC indicated that it was ready to form a national unity government with elements of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, but insisted that the 84-year-old leader should retire.

Barroso expressed concern at the delay in the official vote count and by the "lack of transparency" in the electoral process.

But he also said Brussels was ready to "make further efforts to tackle extreme poverty" and help the country out of its economic "coma."

The European Commission provided about 90 million euros (about 144 million dollars) in aid to Zimbabwe in 2007. Of this, just over 30 million euros was destined for humanitarian reasons.