Friday, 13 November 2015

United Nations and European Union optimism on Zanzibar talks

13 Nov 2015

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The United Nations and the European Union on Thursday expressed optimism and support on the ongoing high level negotiations between Zanzibar leaders aimed at finding a solution to political impasse caused by the nullification of elections in the east African archipelago.
UN representative for Tanzania, Alvaro Rodriguez and EU head of delegation for Tanzania, Filiberto Sebregondi, said in a joint news conference in the east African nation’s business capital Dar es Salaam that their organizations were anxiously observing the talks and would welcome positive developments from the talks.

However, Sebregondi said there were conflicting arguments on what happened in Zanzibar, saying that on one hand there was an assessment done by the EU election observer mission and other international organizations which said the voting process was well organized, credible and transparent.

On the other hand, the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) nullified the elections on October 28 citing irregularities although there were a lot of open questions to the legality of the decision, he said.

"But now the talk is more in political terms than legal, there are number of consultations among Zanzibari leaders, first of all from the two presidential contestants and also the other elder leaders are consulting as we speak," said the EU envoy.

He added: "We believe this is the only way to solve the problem, having dialogue between the two sides and arrive at an agreement on how to address possible irregularities in the election operations and most importantly allow for the new president to be soon declared and sworn in and to have a new government in place."

Rodriguez, the UN representative, said the UN was ready to provide any help if requested to facilitate the negotiations.

"The dialogue is extremely important at this time.

"It requires time to arrive at successful resolutions after a very tense electoral situation in Zanzibar," said Rodriguez.

The Zanzibar electoral body announced the nullification of elections in the archipelago saying the polls held on October 25 were faced with irregularities.

Jecha Salum Jecha, the ZEC chairman, said the elections were nullified following breach of electoral laws and regulations.

Following the nullification of the Zanzibar elections, international election observers and the governments of the United States and Britain called ZEC to resume the election results tabulation process without delay.

In a joint statement, the international election observers appealed to ZEC to act with full transparency in its decision to nullify the elections.

"We urge the political leadership of Zanzibar to cast aside their differences, put the interest of the United Republic of Tanzania and Zanzibar first, and come together to find a speedy resolution to the issues that have led to this unfortunate development," they said.

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