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South Africa's Mbeki and Defense Minister Update Zimbabwe Policy

South African President Thabo Mbeki said his government is ready to help Zimbabwe when all of the parties involved are prepared to sit down and discuss the crisis.

His comment, made in an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation, confirmed that Mr. Mbeki's earlier approach of "quiet diplomacy" which critics said had failed to influence Harare's policies, has given way to a certain disengagement. South Africa's Foreign Ministry has handed off Zimbabwe to a troika of Southern African Development Community countries, which has done little with the brief.

South African Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota, meanwhile, said a multilateral approach to Zimbabwe is necessary given what he called “painfully slow” progress in resolving the crisis. Lekota said that as Zimbabwe is a sovereign state, South Africa is adopting an approach that acknowledges the autonomy of an African sister state.

Parliamentary Liaison Officer Herman Honekom of the Africa institute in Cape Town, South Africa, offered his perspective on Pretoria's current policy toward Zimbabwe in an interview with reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.

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