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SADC Leaders Conclude Summit in Kinshasa


Leaders of 15 southern African states are have concluded a two-day summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo, expressing support for efforts to mediate political confrontations in several member nations. But they have delegated the crisis in Zimbabwe to a special commission.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders expressed support for an end to the political stalemate in Zimbabwe. But they indicated that they felt the remaining disputes within the unity government there could be addressed by a smaller panel of heads-of-state.

The Movement for Democratic Change led by Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had called for a special SADC summit to deal with what it said were hundreds of violations of the power sharing accord it signed last year with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF Party.

Mr. Mugabe complained that the MDC had not fulfilled its part of the agreement to convince western governments to lift sanctions against senior ZANU-PF members.

Mr. Tsvangirai called on Tuesday for speedy implementation of the full agreement but told reporters that the three-member panel, called the Troika on Politics, Defense and Security, could handle the matter.

"It is very important to emphasize that SADC is seized with the issue. And if three people can go and deal with it why convene 14 heads-of-state to deal with the matter if it is just a matter of follow-up? So I am quite sure that they are equally concerned and that they will deal with it," Mr. Tsvangirai said.

The one-year-old agreement led to a power sharing government which has brought some stability to Zimbabwe but continues to be plagued by internal rivalries.

Mr. Tsvangirai said it was urgent to implement the full agreement for the sake of the country.

"The people of Zimbabwe want to see these outstanding issues resolved so that they can move forward with hope. What has been happening is that these things tend to be nagging and therefore the people start creating the doubt. We do not want Zimbabweans to be in doubt. We want them to feel this is the direction the country is facing. They can rebuild their lives and they can start all over again," said Mr. Tsvangirai.

SADC leaders also expressed support for mediation efforts in Madagascar, Lesotho and eastern Congo's Kivu Region.

And they voiced concern over the effects in Africa of climate change, soaring food costs and the global economic recession.

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