UN Confirms Impasse, Dismisses Deadlock

Mutharika: His remarks pushed mediation talks into an impasse

The UN in Malawi has released a statement confirming that an impasse ensued during mediation talks between rights groups and government on Monday because of the remarks made by President Mutharika last Thursday. In a statement signed by Richard Dictus-the UN country representative- the UN said: “It is true that the discussions had reached an impasse and that commitment to the dialogue process needed to be re-confirmed.” But Dictus dismissed claims that the impasse resulted into a deadlock saying the reconfirmation was done through an open and constructive dialogue where both parties expressed their views “clearly, concisely and using appropriate and respectful language.” The UN statement comes after activists said that the dialogue had reached deadlock because of threats by the President. “We can’t start talks until the other side (government) commits itself to this dialogue,” Voice Mhone leader of the activists engaged in dialogue with government said earlier in the day. The groups postponed their August 17 protests to give mediation a chance and engaged the UN to facilitate the process. The groups have given the President a September 21 deadline to listen to their demands, promising fresh protests if he does not address explain his wealth, restore diplomatic relations with Britain, and sale the private jet that he bought in 2009.  Mutharika, a former World Bank economist, has seen his country lose close to $1 billion in foreign aid due to rising tension with donors made worse by his government’s violent crackdown on the July protests that left 20 people dead. The UK also suspended aid after Malawi expelled its ambassador during a diplomatic spat.