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Southern African Leaders Meet Monday to Discuss Regional Security and Zimbabwe


Officials from Angola, Mozambique and Swaziland, known as the Troika, which make up the security panel of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will meet Monday in the Swaziland capital Mbabane to try find a way of overcoming the power sharing deadlock in Zimbabwe. SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao said Monday's meeting will also review the political and security situation in the region, including the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Zimbabwe's power sharing talks have been deadlocked after four days of mediation by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. The leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai said Sunday he expects a deal to come out of Monday's SADC meeting.

SADC Executive Secretary Salomao told VOA that SADC wants to hear first from Zimbabwe mediator Thabo Mbeki.

"The meeting here was convened first to deal with the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). That's agenda item number one of the meeting. Then it's Zimbabwe. Here the mediator will present a report on his consultations and interactions with the three parties. President Mugabe will be here, the designated Prime Minister Tsvangirai will here, the designated deputy Prime Minister Professor Mutambara will also be here. They will have a chance to add or make comments. And then the SADC will take a position based on that. But there is no doubt, the one message is the need to pursue the agreement," he said.

Ahead of Monday's SADC meeting, Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF warned Sunday that Zimbabwe would not succumb to outside pressure.

Salomao said SADC has no intention to impose an agreement on the parties. But he said the regional body has a mandate to make sure that last month's power sharing agreement is implemented.

"My friend, we have an agreement that was signed on the 15th of September. A mandate was given to SADC and the African Union, and our role will be always to advise those who signed the agreement to commit or to implement the commitments made when they signed the agreement," he said.

Salomao said the fact that the Zimbabwe power sharing talks have not been able to reach an agreement on the distribution of ministerial positions was not an indication that the mediation efforts of former President Mbeki had failed.

"We are expecting a report from the mediator. Let's wait for the report that the mediator is going to submit and we'll take it from there," Salomao said.

Monday's meeting is also expected to review the political and security situation in the region, including the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Saloma said the SADC meeting would be responding to a message from Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila regarding the recent renewed fighting in eastern Congo.

"The president, Joseph Kabila, sent a mission to the SADC headquarters, and also to some member states to explain the current situation in the DRC, and also indicating that the humanitarian situation is getting worse. So in view of that, the Troika decided to hold a meeting to attend to the situation and to make proper recommendations on what has to be done by the African Union, the U.N., and also SADC, but in particular by the community of the Great Lakes to attend to the situation in the eastern part of the DRC," Salomao said.


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