SA to discuss reconstruction with Zim delegation

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pretoria - A Zimbabwe delegation, including newly sworn in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, will on Friday meet with President Kgalema Motlanthe and other top officials to discuss reconstruction in that country.

The Foreign Affairs Director General (DG) Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba on Thursday confirmed the Zimbabwe delegation will include Mr Tsvangirai, as well as Zimbabwe's ministers of foreign affairs and finance.

"The delegations will now discuss how to address the issues of the reconstruction in Zimbabwe.

"This meeting will take place against the back drop of the successful implementation of the GPA which was concluded at the Southern African Development Community [SADC] Extraordinary Summit in Pretoria in January this year," Dr Ntsaluba said.

South Africa's Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs, Trevor Manuel and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, respectively, will also be involved in the discussions taking place in Cape Town on Friday.

The Director General highlighted that the South African government will continue to keep an eye over Zimbabwe and will lend advise where ever possible, he said.

"We're hoping that the new unity government will withstand the many trials it will face," Dr Ntsaluba said.

Despite the ongoing challenges involving the imprisonment of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members, the South African government is encouraged by statements made in Zimbabwe's Parliament on their Mid-Term Budget as well as the unanimous adoption of Constitutional Amendment 19 recently, he said.

The Director General said South Africa will receive the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) Ban Ki Moon from 24 to 26 February 2009.

Mr Ban's visit will be taking place after discussions between himself and President Motlanthe at the recent African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa.

The discussions will focus on Africa's conflict hotspots including Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Zimbabwe, he said.

Climate change and the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference taking place in December of this year will also be up for discussion, Dr Ntsaluba highlighted.

Regarding the Middle East, the DG said South Africa is concerned about the recent inconclusive election results in Israel, which will put further pressure on Israeli-Palestinian relations.