Zimbabwe: SADC backs Mbeki mediation bid

2008-07-20 00:00

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has put its weight behind the Zimbabwean mediation efforts led by President Thabo Mbeki.

The regional body’s backing of Mbeki comes as the South African president continues to face heavy criticism from some quarters for his handling of the Zimbabwean crisis.

Mbeki has been lambasted and accused of treating Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe with kid gloves, while it has also been suggested that his “quiet” diplomacy has failed to yield any results.

Speaking at the end of the meeting of SADC ministers, Tomaz Salamoa said it was important to deal with the Zimbabwean political crisis in a “very responsible manner” and expressed confidence in Mbeki.

The issue featured prominently at the two day meeting held at the Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Premier S’bu Ndebele says peace should be achieved first if the region is to see any economic growth and prosperity. “As Africans we believe that our future lies in peace and stability. In achieving this fundamental goal, we will find security in our homes and our communities, economic prosperity, growth and development,” he said during his address at the meeting on Saturday.

Ndebele said that some states in the region could draw some lessons from the province, which was once ravaged by violence. “Our miracle … is not only that we stopped fighting, but [that] we have now made peace.”

bmbanjwa@witness.co.za

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