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Southern African ministers prepare for regional meeting

Southern African ministers wrap up their two-day meeting today in Gaborone, Botswana. They have been preparing the agenda for the summit of the Southern African Development Community, SADC, scheduled to start tomorrow. The summit comes amid demands for action to avert a humanitarian disaster in Zimbabwe – and to strengthen women's rights in the region. The leaders are also expected to address other regional issues. President Thabo Mbeki is expected to lead the South African delegation.

Chris Maroleng is a SADC specialist at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa. He told Voice of America reporter Ashenafi Abedje that although Zimbabwe is not officially on the summit agenda, it's likely to be a topic of informal discussions. Mr. Maroleng also says SADC could learn from another regional body – the Economic Community of West African States (or ECOWAS) – which, he says, has been more assertive in mediating conflict and enforcing democratic procedures among its member countries.