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Botswana's President Skips SADC Summit Over Mugabe's Presence


Botswana made good Friday on its threat to boycott the Southern African Development Community summit taking place on Saturday if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is on hand, announcing that President Seretse Khama Ian Khama will not be taking part.

The foreign ministry said Botswana objects to the outcome of Zimbabwe's June 27 run-off, which according to Gaborone violated SADC and African Union “core principles."

Botswanan Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Gaborone stated at an AU meeting in late June that Harare should not be represented at any SADC summit as this would wrongly confer legitimacy.

Later Friday, South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dhlamini Zuma said Botswana as a sovereign state has the right to boycott the summit if it wishes.

Speaking to journalists after SADC foreign ministers concluded their discussions, Zuma criticized the confiscation by Zimbabwean authorities for several hours Thursday of the passports of an opposition delegation which delayed their travel to the Johannesburg summit.

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

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