UN offered Mugabe retirement exile deal: WikiLeaks

19th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

The United Nations offered Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe a retirement package and safe haven overseas if he agreed to stand down, according to a US diplomatic cable revealed by WikiLeaks Sunday.

The offer was made by Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general at the time in 2000, said the memo which was drawn up by US officials and cited the then-opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"Kofi Annan, in the recent meeting in New York during the millennium summit offered Mugabe a deal to step down," said the memo written in September 2000 and printed in Britain's The Observer newspaper.

"Although (the MDC source) said the MDC was not privy to the details, he surmised that Annan's supposed deal probably included provision of safe haven and a financial package from Libyan president (Moamer Kadhafi).

"The opposition party heard that Mugabe turned down the offer the following day after discussing it with the first lady."

Mugabe, 86, Africa's oldest leader and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has shared power with his arch-foe, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, since a disputed presidential election in 2008.

But the uneasy "unity" government has been on the brink of collapse for months.

Mugabe said on Saturday he was "very confident" of victory after his ZANU-PF party backed him to contest a likely election next year against Tsvangirai.

© 2010 AFP

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