The following statement was agreed upon by the countries attending a meeting of the Friends of Zimbabwe held in Copenhagen on December 10, 2010.
Participants: U.S., Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, European Commission (EC), EU Council Secretariat, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, African Development Bank (AFDB), United Nations
At a moment when Zimbabwe has to make critical decisions on the way forward, we, friends of Zimbabwe, met in Copenhagen and re-emphasized our commitment to the Zimbabwean people through support for reform and recovery.
We welcomed the progress achieved since the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the formation of the Inclusive Government, including the restoration of basic services, the constitutional process, launching of Human Rights, Media and Electoral Commissions and a significant improvement in macroeconomic management.
However, serious concerns remain relating to the protection of fundamental rights, the rule of law, governance and respect for agreements.
Credible and legitimate elections in line with Southern African Development Community (SADC) guidelines, that are free of violence and that accept the will of the people, are central to democratic transformation in Zimbabwe. To reach this point, the Zimbabwean government needs to create the enabling environment, and agree on and implement significant reforms as stipulated in the GPA. Zimbabweans should not face violence and intimidation to cast their votes.
We welcomed ongoing regional efforts to support democratization in Zimbabwe and we actively encourage regional actors, and SADC and South Africa in particular, to further assist Zimbabwe in ensuring the conditions for credible, legitimate and peaceful elections. We are ready in response to review and adjust, as appropriate, the full range of our efforts and policies.
We commended the significant gains in macroeconomic stabilization and encourage the continuation of efforts aimed at strengthening economic recovery, the promotion of enhanced transparency and the implementation of structural and legal reforms, including the protection of property rights that will help attract foreign investment. We look to international financial institutions to deepen their engagement, including, inter alia, through an IMF Staff-Monitored-Program when all requirements have been met.
The increasing state revenue and strengthening the public finance system provide an opportunity to improve living conditions of ordinary Zimbabweans. It is critical in this regard that the development of natural resources is pursued in a transparent manner that empowers and benefits the people. A critical example of this is Zimbabwe’s compliance with its commitments under the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for rough diamonds.
Collectively, we are intensifying our efforts to support democratic reform, enhance the livelihoods of the poor, and restore basic services. Programs benefit Zimbabweans regardless of political persuasion. For example, through the now operational ZimFund, support is provided for the rehabilitation of water and power delivery systems. In 2010, every child in primary school has been provided with new text books, and 600,000 households have received agricultural inputs. In 2011, we expect our collective programs to total more than $500 million. We intend to continue to provide our assistance taking into consideration the priorities of the inclusive government as reflected in the budget and in government sector policies.
The coming months will determine Zimbabwe’s prospects for the years to come. We remain committed to helping achieve the goal of a prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe.
Good afternoon. And I wanted to thank (inaudible) for welcoming us all here at the Spaso House. I feel deeply honored to have a chance to meet with you this afternoon and express to you how highly I regard the work that you are doing on behalf of your country and the Russian people. Both President Obama and I want to stress strongly how the United States stands with those who work for freedom, campaign for justice and democracy, and who risk their lives to speak out for human rights.
We believe that Russians yearn for (inaudible) rights, just as Americans and people around the world. I have been encouraged by President Medvedev’s statements towards a more open society and his stated commitment to combat corruption and strengthen the rule of law. He has also acknowledged that Russia’s prosperity is dependent upon responsible governance, because stable economic development is impossible without accountable, transparent governance.
We believe that innovation and entrepreneurship can only thrive in an open society where knowledge and ideas are exchanged as freely as goods and capital. Just as competition in the marketplace fuels growth and better products, political competition produces more accountable governance and better political solutions.
These are causes that many of you have championed for years, and they are vitally important to Russia’s future. A society cannot be truly open when those who stand up and speak out are murdered and people cannot trust the rule of law when killers act with impunity. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 18 journalists have been killed in Russia since 2000 in retaliation for their work. But in only one case have the killers been convicted. When violence like this goes unpunished in any society, it’s undermining the rule of law, chills public discourse, which is, after all, the lifeblood of an open society, and it diminishes the public’s confidence and trust in their own government.
Those of you here today not only understand the risks, you live them. You have seen friends and colleagues harassed, intimidated, and even killed. And yet, you go on. You go on working and writing and speaking and refusing to be silenced. So I thank you and applaud (inaudible) the courage (inaudible) human rights (inaudible), civil society (inaudible), bloggers and journalists all play a vital role in holding (inaudible) accountable (inaudible) abuses of power. And I want you to know that it is not coincidence that President Obama met with a civil society group in July and that I am here with you to underscore a very simple message: The United States stands firmly by your side.
In our discussions with the Russian Government, we continue to express our support for efforts to improve governance and advance human rights (inaudible). Forging this new partnership with your government is only part of what we intend to (inaudible). We seek to deepen ties between our societies and our peoples. We believe they can do both at the same time, because ultimately, we not only wish to have a closer government-to-government cooperation between the United States and Russia, but we hope to build that on a strong foundation of accountable, democratic governance that will be a very clear signal to our own people, to the Russian people, and to the world that we will lead based on values and not just (inaudible).
So please stay in touch with us. We invite your comments, your suggestions, your constructive criticisms. The ambassador and his staff know you all well, and we hope that this will be part of an ongoing dialogue that will enable us to work together and fulfill many of the hopes and aspirations that you represent.
Now, the ambassador has (inaudible) to each of you, so I want to thank you for coming and I look forward to hearing from him directly about issues that you wish to raise with me. And I thank the press for being here today to be a part of this so we can have a very open and personal opportunity.