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Mbeki defends ‘quiet diplomacy’ stance

Dumisani Muleya

SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki this week defended his silence on President Robert Mugabe’s repressive rule, insisting no one had a right to interfere in Zimbabwe’s a


Speaking to journalists on Wednesday during a visit to France, a day after police brutally suppressed Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions protests and arrested its top leaders as well as hundreds of supporters, Mbeki said no country could “import” a solution to Zimbabwe.

”I repeat, we do not accept that even a country like South Africa has any particular right to decide what happens in Zimbabwe,” Mbeki said.

”We cannot import a solution from South Africa or anywhere else in the world.”

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Welshman Ncube said Mbeki’s statement was shocking.

“If South Africa has no right to intervene in Zimbabwe, then what is this so-called ‘quiet diplomacy’ all about?” Ncube said. “Isn’t it about stopping Mugabe’s political repression and economic mismanagement that have caused the crisis we are facing?”

Mbeki insisted that the solution to the Zimbabwe crisis lay in talks between the ruling Zanu PF and the MDC.

”They need to get together. People are hungry,” he said.

Mbeki was in France on a three-day visit that focused on talks with President Jacques Chirac on poverty and development initiatives for Africa.

He praised Chirac’s support for Nepad which is designed to improve governance in Africa.

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