18 July 2008Senior United Nations political official Haile Menkerios is in Pretoria, South Africa, to further Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s efforts to help resolve the political crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe, a spokesman for the world body announced today. Mr. Menkerios, who is Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, has been in meetings with South African President Thabo Mbeki and with the African Union Chairperson Jean Ping, Marie Okabe told reporters. He was expected to be briefed on the state of the mediation efforts aimed at resolving the ongoing dispute between President Robert Mugabe, who was sworn in for another term after being declared the winner of the 27 June presidential run-off, and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The Southern African nation has been plagued by deadly violence and a worsening humanitarian situation since the first round of elections was held on 29 March. The mediation efforts are being led by South Africa at the request of the South African Development Community (SADC).