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African diplomats lambast US
Posted: Saturday, February 1, 2003

Herald Reporter

AFRICAN ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Zimba-bwe have lambasted the United States government's call for its citizens not to visit Zimbabwe saying the move was a deliberate ploy to derail the hosting of World Cup Cricket matches to be played in the country this month.

The diplomats said the travel warning by the US government was misleading because the current situation in the country did not pose any security threat to anyone who wished to visit Zimbabwe.

In a statement, the African Group of Ambassadors and High Commission-ers said they were deeply concerned about the US warning, as it did not give a true picture of the real situation prevailing in the country.

"In fact, Zimbabwe as a destination is far safer than the security situation obtained in some capitals of those countries that are on the forefront of isolating Zimbabwe," read part of the statement issued by the Dean of the African Heads of Missions, Mr Ndali-Che Kamatai.

Mr Kamatai is Namibia's High Commissioner to Zimbabwe.

The US government recently issued a directive to its nationals not to travel to Zimbabwe and advised those in the country to leave, citing security concerns.

It alleged that there was total breakdown of rule of law in the country and that the US government would not be held accountable for the safety of those ignoring the call to leave the country.

However, the African diplomats said the US warning was political and directly connected to the deliberate efforts geared towards derailing the hosting of the Cricket World Cup matches, which are scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe this month.

They said they were satisfied with the level of preparations and security arrangements undertaken by the Government of Zimbabwe in hosting the cricket matches.

"In this connection, we concur with the recent International Cricket Council delegation's conclusion that Zimbabwe has put in place requisite measures.

"We believe that this is not the time to isolate Zimbabwe, but rather engage the Zimbabwe Government with the view to finding solutions to the challenges currently facing the country."

The ambassadors called upon all the people intending to visit the country to proceed with their arrangements as their security was assured.

They urged the English and Australian cricket teams not to be influenced by political considerations of their governments.

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