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Situation in Zimbabwe a “great concern”: Zuma

 Cape Town,Nov 18(Fast Mail):-President Jacob Zuma on Friday urged parties involved in the unfolding political and security situation in Zimbabwe to maintain peace and security.


The Zimbabwean military has allegedly taken control of State institutions and has confined President Robert Mugabe and his wife to their house, saying that it is targeting criminals in government who are bent on destabilising the country.


In his opening remarks at the 4th Bi-National Commission (BNC) between the Republic of South Africa and Botswana, President Zuma said the situation in Zimbabwe is of great concern.


“We meet here this morning at a time when one of our sister countries, Zimbabwe, is experiencing political and security challenges. We note with great concern the unfolding political developments in Zimbabwe and hope that they would not lead to unconstitutional change of government.


“We urge all the parties to ensure that maintenance of peace and security as enshrined in their constitution is not compromised,” said President Zuma in Gaborone.


He said the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in keeping with its established protocols and processes, stands ready to provide all the necessary support to the people of Zimbabwe to resolve the current political impasse.


President Zuma’s comments, who is also chair of SADC, comments come as the ministerial meeting of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation has recommended that SADC members hold an urgent extra-ordinary summit to discuss the unfolding political and security situation in Zimbabwe.


The announcement was made by South African International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who chaired Thursday’s ministerial meeting in Gaborone.


President Zuma has also dispatched the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Minister of State Security, Bongani Bongo, to Harare to hold discussions with the military and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.


Last week, President Mugabe fired his Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on allegations of disloyalty and deceit. The two had been political allies for more than 40 years. 


On Friday, President Zuma said it is important to advance regional integration by assisting in dealing with remaining peace and security challenges and implementation of SADC Industrialisation Strategy and its Action Plan.


“During our chairmanship of SADC, we will prioritise the implementation of identified regional projects. With regards to our continent, we remain totally committed not only to the unity of the continent but also to the implementation of AU Agenda 2063, especially continental integration and silencing of the guns by 2020,” said President Zuma


Bilateral cooperation


Turning his attention to the BNC, President Zuma said he is happy to note that bilateral cooperation between South Africa and Botswana has expanded since the establishment of the BNC.


“We cooperate in many fields including education, health, agriculture, trade and investment, energy, science and technology, immigration, justice, security, tourism, environmental matters, water, transport, to mention but a few.


“The BNC has thus provided a momentum in strengthening our relations as demonstrated by the existence of over thirty agreements and memoranda of understanding,” said President Zuma.


He, however, added that the two countries should now prioritise implementation of these legal and enabling instruments.


“As we implement our agreements, we also need to pay a particular focus on economic cooperation. This will help address poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment. We cannot overemphasise the importance of cross border economic projects, economic zones, economic diversification and industrialisation.”


MoU on Culture


South Africa and its landlocked neighbour will also further strengthen cultural cooperation at a government-to-government level by fully implementing the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding on Culture. 

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