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» 23.03.2010 - Rift divides Botswana's ruling party
» 23.02.2010 - Botswana and Zimbabwe irons out difference
» 09.02.2010 - Khama accused of trampling on Bushmen’s rights
» 01.02.2010 - Botswana condemns Togo suspension by CAF
» 28.01.2010 - Australia expands relations with Botswana
» 07.08.2009 - San communities in Botswana get USADF funding
» 16.02.2009 - Botswana passports could be at risk
» 11.12.2008 - "SADC to look for MDC military bases in Botswana"

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Botswana | Southern Africa

Botswana may boycott SADC summit

afrol News, 5 August - Botswana has threatened to boycott Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in South Africa on 16 August if President Robert Mugabe is invited.

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister, Phandu Skelemani, said Mr Mugabe should not be invited to attend the summit, though he admits that Botswana leadership is ready to accept Mr Mugabe if MDC and ZANU-PF come to an agreement, and Mr Mugabe emerges as legitimate leader.

"We are waiting for Zimbabwe to produce a government," Phandu Skelemane said in an interview at the weekend, referring to power-sharing talks aimed at resolving Zimbabwe's political crisis.

A regional meeting comes amid divisions on whether to include President Mugabe or not, with South Africa, as the coming chair supportive of President Mugabe's attendance at the summit.

"Whatever Zimbabwean negotiators agree on, we will be happy to sit down with. We can only boycott the forthcoming summit if we feel democratic process of setting up a new Zimbabwean government was questionable," Mr Skelemane said.

Botswana said it would recognise a deal that would keep Mr Mugabe in power only if it resulted from fair negotiations. "To us as the Botswana government, it does not matter who the two negotiating parties agree on as the head of a new Zimbabwean government," said Mr Skelemane.

Head of corporate communications at SADC secretariat, Leefa Martins, has however said she is not aware that there are some head of states that not attending the summit in South Africa.

"It is an Ordinary Summit that takes place every single year and has thus become an ordinary annual event of all SADC heads of state and government, so much so that invitations that go out are a mere formality," said Ms Martins.

Mr Mugabe is expected to receive an invitation to next week's summit if the negotiations continue with no result, as he is regarded as the country's leader after a one sided run off polls on 27June that saw him snatch victory.

Last month, Botswana came out right and slammed president Muhabe urging its neighbours not to recognise him as a leader and also called for his suspension from SADC and African Union.

Botswana's call for suspension was as a result of widely condemned one-sided run off elections that Zimbabwean voters went after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn from the contest.

According to government sources late last year, Botswana plays host to an estimated 250 000 Zimbabweans a number that was growing as conditions under Mugabe's regime went from bad to worse. The flood of exiles has seen Botswana government make an appeal for international help, saying the number of Zimbabwean refugees is draining the country's resources.

President Mugabe has been in power since 1980 when Zimbabwe got off the colonial grip of Britain.

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