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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Moves to Diffuse Tension With Regional Leaders Ahead of Crucial Summit


Mr. Mugabe fell out recently with his SADC colleagues over a continuing crackdown, the use of violence and outstanding Global Political Agreement issues

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s former ruling ZANU-PF has intensfied its damage control campaign to repair ties with regional leaders ahead of a crucial Southern African Development Community extraordinary summit in Nambia next month.

Mr. Mugabe fell out recently with his SADC colleagues over a continuing crackdown, the use of violence and outstanding Global Political Agreement issues.

The ZANU-PF side of the unity government Thursday dispatched Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi to meet with SADC ambassadors in Harare and explain that utterances by former information minister and Memember of Parliament Jonathan Moyo, and comments in the state media lampooning South African president and Harare mediator, Jacob Zuma, did not reflect government policy.

Mumbengegwi told journalists after the meeting that Harare has not crossed swords with SADC.

"Government has never and will never attack SADC." Mumbengegwi said, adding: "If there was any attack, it was not from Government but from somewhere."

Moyo led attacks against SADC and Mr. Zuma after a SADC troika meeting in Livingstone, Zambia, earlier this month criticized ZANU-PF for violating the unity accord, among other ills affecting the power-sharing government.

President Robert Mugabe later accused the regional leaders of trying to interfere in the country’s internal affairs.

Walking away from the attacks, Mumbengegwi told the ambassadors that Zimbabwe is willing to work with regional leaders. ZANU-PF has also dispatched an envoy to Malawi, South Africa and Zambia to diffuse tensions with the regional bloc.

Former diplomat Clifford Mashiri told VOA Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reporter Blessing Zulu that ZANU-PF's latest strategy will not work.

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