Zimbabwe is suspended from the Commonwealth for a year. Election observers find the elections which return Mugabe to power seriously flawed. South African president Mbeki, Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo and Australian prime minister Howard – announce the suspension following several hours of talks at Marlborough House in London. Howard:
The committee decided to suspend Zimbabwe from the councils of the Commonwealth for one year with immediate effect…This issue will be revisited in 12 months’ time, having regard to progress in Zimbabwe and report from the Commonwealth’s Secretary General…I have noted in the lead-up to this meeting that people have said repeatedly that this is a test for the Commonwealth as to whether it’s going to be consistent in its treatment. I believe we have been consistent in our treatment.
[There is strong support for the initiatives of the Nigerian and South African presidents] in encouraging a climate of reconciliation between the main political parties in Zimbabwe which they considered essential to address the issues of food shortages, economic recovery, the restoration of political stability, the rule of law and the conduct of future elections.