WHO chief selects Zimbabwe's Mugabe as 'goodwill ambassador'

Geneva - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has long faced United States sanctions over his government's human rights abuses.

But the World Health Organisation's new chief is making the longtime African leader a "goodwill ambassador."

With Mugabe on hand, WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus told a conference in Uruguay this week on non-communicable diseases that he'd agreed to be a "goodwill ambassador on NCDs."

Tedros, an Ethiopian who became WHO's first African director-general this year, said Mugabe could use the role "to influence his peers in his region to prioritise NCDs."

A WHO spokesperson confirmed the comments to The Associated Press on Friday.

The US in 2003 imposed targeted sanctions, a travel ban and an asset freeze against Mugabe and close associates, citing his government's rights abuses and evidence of electoral fraud.

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