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2707Orthodox African Patriarch urges S. African pressure on Zimbabwe

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Mar 6, 2005
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      2005.03.02 ENI:
      Ecumenical News International
      02 March 2005
      Orthodox African Patriarch urges S. African pressure on Zimbabwe

      By Peter Fabricius

      Johannesburg, 2 March (ENI)--The Greek Orthodox African Patriarch
      believes the South African government should put more pressure on
      the Zimbabwean government to change its ways.

      Theodoros II, a former archbishop of Zimbabwe, was speaking on
      his first visit to South Africa since becoming Greek Orthodox
      Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa last year.

      "Zimbabwe faces many problems, for instance hunger. But I see
      positive developments and the situation is getting better," he
      told the Cape Times newspaper. Yet he said South Africa could
      help the situation in Zimbabwe by "putting more pressure" on the
      government there.

      The South African government has faced wide criticism for failing
      to get tough with autocratic Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
      who has seen his country's once prosperous economy collapse and
      human rights severely eroded. South Africa defends itself by
      saying it is quietly trying to persuade Mugabe to change.

      South Africa has a relatively large Greek community and Theodoros
      started his official visit this week by presiding at a service at
      the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St George in the Cape Town suburb
      of Woodstock, the first Greek Orthodox church to be founded in
      South Africa.

      During his visit, Theodoros identified the AIDS pandemic as one
      of Africa's greatest problems but predicted that one day Africans
      would learn how to "be in control of their own bodies" to stop
      spreading the disease.

      He urged the West not to give up on Africa as it was partly
      responsible for Africa's problems. But Africans also had to
      tackle their problems, he said.

      Theodoros, born Nicholas Choreftakis in Crete in 1954, has lived
      in several African countries since he first came to the continent
      20 years ago, and said, "Inside, I feel African. I lived with the
      people, in huts and in poverty." He is to stay in South Africa
      until 13 March, visiting the main cities.
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