§ 15. Sir Nicholas Winterton
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the latest situation in Zimbabwe. 
§ Mr. Mullin
The political and economic situation in Zimbabwe remains serious. The state continues to use violence and intimidation against its opponents. Formal dialogue between the ruling ZANU (PF) and opposition MDC has not started. The leader of the opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, now faces two treason charges. The economy continues to spiral downwards. The World Food Programme estimates that nearly half the population, 5.5 million Zimbabweans, will depend on food aid this year.
Responsibility for the present state of Zimbabwe lies squarely with its present Government. Together with the rest of the international community, we will continue to provide humanitarian relief, will work to sustain Mugabe's isolation and highlight his abuses of fundamental human rights and will continue to promote a prosperous and democratic future for the people of Zimbabwe.
§ 16. Mr. Russell Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the situation in Zimbabwe on the rest of southern Africa. 
§ Mr. Mullin
The situation in Zimbabwe continues to have a negative impact on other countries in southern Africa. The crisis there is damaging regional economies and has adversely affected their interest rates, inflation, foreign direct investment and tourism. A study by the Zimbabwe Research Initiative in May estimated the total cost to the combined Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries to have been at least US$1.88 billion at the end of 2002. Zimbabwe's neighbours are also suffering damage to local production from the influx of cheap Zimbabwean goods, unpaid Zimbabwean debts, an increase in largely unskilled migrants, and the cross border spread of foot and mouth disease.