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SADC readies for Zimbabwe summit

An emergency SADC summit to address the ongoing political impasse in Zimbabwe is expected to start at about 11am in Pretoria on Monday.

The extraordinary summit, announced last week after power-sharing talks between the country’s three political leaders again deadlocked in Harare, will see heads of 15 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries attempting to find a solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Last Friday South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the answer to the problem could not be dictated by SADC, but only by the country’s three leaders.

It was hoped that Zanu-PF leader Robert Mugabe and the two Movement for Democratic Change faction leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, would all be in attendance.

”SADC wants a solution, but unfortunately the position is not in SADC’s hands … if it was we would be having a solution [by now].

”It is in their hands. They are the only three people [who can find a solution],” Dlamini-Zuma told a media briefing.

The political situation in Zimbabwe has been highlighted by numerous humanitarian crises since the March 2008 elections.

These include continued violence between rival parties, increased poverty, a cholera outbreak which has reportedly killed 2 773 people and a breakdown of the country’s economic, agricultural and education systems.

SADC has met on numerous occasions to discuss the matter, never straying from its stance that the only solution to Zimbabwe’s problemswas an amendment to the September 2008 power-sharing agreement.

The amendment outlined the allocation of Cabinet posts, which had been hotly contested by all parties.

South Africa was of the view that international or regional interference in the form of sanctions and military action would be counter productive.

Former president Thabo Mbeki — assigned as SADC mediator to Zimbabwe — had been criticised in some quarters for failing to get the parties to agree to a deal.

Monday’s programme will start with a joint meeting of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security, which includes Swaziland, Angola and Mozambique, and the SADC troika meeting which includes South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia, said Foreign Affairs department spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa. – Sapa

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