Posted by: APO | 20 May 2008

Zimbabwe / USA / Daily Press Briefing

Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 19, 2008

QUESTION: One more – sorry, I have one more on Zimbabwe.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, sure.

QUESTION: On Zimbabwe?

MR. MCCORMACK: Go ahead. Yeah, go ahead.

QUESTION: Do you actually give any credence, though, to the claims that there’s a plot to kill Tsvangirai? I mean —

MR. MCCORMACK: I’m not —

QUESTION: — are you looking into it?

MR. MCCORMACK: I’m not aware. I’ve seen the news reports. I’m not aware that we can substantiate it one way or the other. Clearly, this is somebody who has suffered injuries at the hands of government or government-supported forces, so he clearly has a well-founded basis for his personal safety.

Now, as to the specifics of these allegations, again, I can’t substantiate it one way or the other. But clearly, this is an individual that has been targeted by the government, or at least forces that support the government.

QUESTION: As the United States has done in other circumstances, would you be – is it a possibility that you could provide protection, the U.S. could provide some sort of protection for Tsvangirai?

MR. MCCORMACK: That’s not something we’re contemplating at this point.

QUESTION: That’s not something you’re —

MR. MCCORMACK: It is not. It is not something we’re contemplating.

Yes.

QUESTION: Can I quickly follow up?

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: On Zimbabwe. Given (inaudible) Sean, do you really believe that it is realistic to have this runoff on the 27th of June?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we’ll see. We’ll see if the conditions present themselves such that we can say in good conscience that an election can be held in a free and fair manner and that the will of the people will be reflected in the results of the vote. At this point, we’re not prepared to make a statement about that one way or the other. But we can state serious concerns about the situation on the ground as we see it developing now, and whether or not that portends for a free and fair election. And certainly, at this point, you look at the conditions on the ground, it doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean that you stop working the international politics of this and see if you can create the conditions for a free and fair electoral runoff.

QUESTION: Do you trust the Zimbabwean Government?

MR. MCCORMACK: Do we trust the Zimbabwean Government?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think that we’ve given our answer as to, left to their own devices, whether or not they would have a free and fair election.


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