Tuesday, August 17, 2010

SADC Hails Zimbabwe Leaders Calling for West to Lift Sanctions

Sadc hails Zim leaders

From Caesar Zvayi in WINDHOEK, Namibia
Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Herald

Sadc’s 30th Ordinary Summit opened at the Safari Court Conference Centre here yesterday with the incoming and outgoing Sadc chairmen, Presidents Hifikepunye Pohamba (Namibia) and Joseph Kabila (DRC) respectively, commending Zimbabwe’s political leadership for setting aside sectarian interests for nation-building.

Addressing the opening session of the summit, the DRC leader urged the principals in Madagascar — which was thrown into turmoil in the wake of a coup — to be guided by the same spirit.

"I equally know and appreciate the patriotic spirit of Zimbabwean leaders who, in spite of some outstanding issues, have agreed to keep working together within the unity Government for the good of their people.

"I am confident that the same spirit will eventually prevail among the principals in Madaga-scar as we strive to solve the crisis in that sister country," President Kabila said.

In a clear indication of the way in which South African President Jacob Zuma’s briefing to the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security went on Sunday night, the DRC leader thanked Sadc for helping resolve ‘‘the one time stalemate in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement in Zimbabwe".

Incoming chair President Pohamba hailed the progress in Zimbabwe and thanked President Zuma for his facilitation.

"I also wish to recognise progress made in Zimbabwe following the formation of an inclusive Government and commend the leadership and people of Zimbabwe as well as His Excellency President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa."

President Zuma presented his report on the inclusive Government’s progress to the Troika and commended the GPA parties for their commitment.

The report will be tabled to Sadc leaders during the summit.

‘‘I wish to express my gratitude to the leaders of the parties in Zimbabwe for their co-operation and assistance, and for the manner in which they have worked to resolve the outstanding issues.

‘‘I am confident that there is sufficient political will to see this process through to a conclusion that addresses the needs of all the people of Zimbabwe,’’ President Zuma was quoted as saying.

The development came as a slap in the face of Western news agencies and websites that went haywire over the past week claiming that Sadc would censure President Mugabe for allegedly violating the GPA.

The Troika briefing came in the context of Sadc’s facilitatory role in establishing the inclusive Government.

Similarly, the summit will also review the political situation in Lesotho and Madagascar.

The other speakers who addressed the opening session included Sadc executive secretary Dr Tomaz Salamao and African Union chairman President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi.

President wa Mutharika announced the launch of a project to provide a new outlet to the sea for landlocked Sadc countries like Zimbabwe.

"Let’s refer to the regional project to develop the Nsanje Inland Port as a way to provide a new outlet to the sea.

"This initiative has big potential for countries such as Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

"I am happy to report that the government of Mozambique, under the able leadership of His Excellency President (Armando) Guebuza, fully supports this project and has taken measures to facilitate its realisation,’’ he said.

After the opening session, the leaders retired into their closed session.

President Mugabe was expected to join other Heads of State and Government at a banquet hosted by the new Sadc chair last night.

The summit agenda dwells on regional integration.

Two years ago, Sadc launched a Free Trade Area encompassing a market of more than 260 million people and now aims to launch a customs union by next year and a full-blown monetary union by 2018. The bloc also intends to expand the FTA to include Comesa and the East African Community bringing together 26 countries, almost half of the continent’s 53 states.

Remove sanctions on Zim: Sadc

From Caesar Zvayi in Windhoek

Sadc Heads of State and Government yesterday reiterated their call for the immediate lifting of all illegal Western sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Regional leaders are meeting here for their 30th Ordinary Summit.

In an interview following yesterday afternoon’s closed door session, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said Sadc leaders had decided to engage those who imposed the sanctions as a bloc.

This follows commitments made at an Extraordinary Summit in Swaziland last year where Sadc leaders pledged to help Zimbabwe fight the machinery of sanctions.

Minister Mumbengegwi said: "We have had a good discussion following the report of the chairman of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation (President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique) covering deliberations on the situation in Lesotho, Madagascar and the situation in Zimbabwe.

"On the situation in Zimbabwe, of course, the facilitator gave his report to the Organ, then this afternoon the Organ chair gave his report to the summit and gave his recommendations to the summit, thanked the facilitator and urged stakeholders to continue to engage to resolve the outstanding issues.

"Summit reiterated its call for the lifting of sanctions by all those who imposed sanctions.

"Most importantly, they decided to engage them as Sadc."

The outcome, which could possibly be captured in the summit’s final resolutions and communiqué, is in line with pre-meeting expectations that regional leaders would concern themselves with Zimbabwe’s economic development.

There had been claims that the summit would dwell with issues such as Mr Roy Bennett’s appointment as a deputy minister and other so-called outstanding Global Political Agreement issues.

However, indications are that the summit will likely now look at how the region can operationalise promises made last year to offset the effects of sanctions.

At their meeting in Swaziland in 2009, Sadc leaders pledged to assist Zimbabwe overcome its economic challenges.

The Namibia summit ends today.

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