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SADC to discuss Zim, DRCongo

2009-09-01 08:57

Pretoria - Zimbabwe's power-sharing government and instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo will top the agenda at a regional summit next week, South Africa's foreign ministry said on Monday.

The 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) holds its annual summit on September 7 and 8 in Kinshasa, where South Africa will hand over the chairmanship to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"This will be a very important summit," South African foreign ministry's director general Ayanda Ntsaluba told reporters.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma will brief the leaders about his visit to Zimbabwe last week, where he pressured the leaders of the power-sharing government to overcome their differences, Ntsaluba said.

Zimbabwe's long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader, formed a unity government six months ago but remain deadlocked over a raft of issues, including the naming of the central bank chief.

Instability in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo will also be discussed, after Kinshasa launched a new push against rebels six weeks ago, Ntsaluba said.

Food security

Mozambique's former president Joaquim Chissano will update the summit on his efforts to mediate among Madagascar's main political rivals to form a transitional government to lead the island nation toward new elections.

Madagascar's government collapsed in March, after the capital's mayor Andry Rajoelina took power with the army's backing following weeks of street protests. SADC suspended Madagascar over the takeover.

Talks on naming the new government ended without an agreement last week in Maputo, but Madagascar's power-brokers say they will make a decision on the island's leadership by Friday, before the summit begins.

The leaders will also hear a report on Lesotho from former Botswana president Ketumile Masire, who in July broke off his mediation in disputed 2007 elections, saying the government was unwilling to compromise, Ntsaluba added.

"Also on the agenda are issues of food security, health, climate change and the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa," he said.