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South Africa Hands Off Zimbabwe Portfolio To Regional Grouping


Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad of South Africa has stated that Zimbabwe’s crisis is now in the hands of a Southern African Development Community troika comprising Tanzania, Namibia and Angola. He added that Pretoria, once considered the region's lead diplomatic broker in Harare, has no current initiative on the country.

Tanzania has been assigned the chairmanship of the troika, but Tanzanian sources declined to say when troika representatives might visit Harare for talks.

South African President Thabo Mbeki had for years been point man on Zimbabwe for the West as well as the region. But critics say his “quiet diplomacy” has failed.

SADC sources said trouble in Zimbabwe, seen by many as the region’s “sick man,” is becoming contagious and hampering regional efforts to attract foreign investment.

Mediation by former president Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, mooted by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, has not materialized. Lesotho, Botswana and South Africa are now said to be lobbying fellow SADC members to tackle the crisis.

Researcher Chris Maroleng of the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the SADC initiative is welcome because it will help keep Zimbabwe in front of the international community.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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