SADC pays tribute to regional leaders over Zim's unity govt

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lusaka - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has paid tribute to regional leaders who worked tirelessly to ensure an amicable and lasting solution was found to the challenges facing the people of Zimbabwe.

SADC Executive Secretary Dr Tomaz Augusto Salamao also commended the leadership of Zimbabwe's political parties - the ZANU PF and the two factions of the Movement for democratic Change (MDC) - for putting aside party differences and re-uniting the people of Zimbabwe.

The SADC Secretariat, Dr Salamao noted that their understanding in the negotiation process leading to the inauguration of an inclusive government was commendable and deserved support from the international community.

The SADC Secretariat also extended profound gratitude to former South African president Thabo Mbeki as the SADC-appointed mediator for his tireless efforts and ever enduring courage and to the African Union (AU) Commission for support rendered to the mediation process.

Turning to the people of Zimbabwe, Dr Salamao congratulated them for their patience and perseverance and pledged the regional bloc's commitment and support to the daunting task of rehabilitating Zimbabwe's economy.

He echoed calls by South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, who is also SADC Chairman, urging the international community to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe and to give the government of national unity the support it needed to rebuild the political, social and economic welfare of Zimbabwe.

The SADC Executive Secretary, together with other regional and continental leaders, converged in Harare from 11 - 13 February to witness the inauguration of an inclusive Government of National Unity.

The inauguration started on 11 February with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai sworn in as Zimbabwe's Prime Minister by President Robert Mugabe. Others sworn in were Professor Arthur Mutambara and Thokozanis Khupe as Deputy Prime Ministers respectively.

Zimbabwe's full Cabinet was inaugurated on Friday in a ceremony attended by President Motlanthe and the Chairman of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Swaziland's King Mswati.

Others present included Deputy Chairman of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and Mr Mbeki.

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