Monday, August 22, 2005

Mbeki finally says something to Mugabe.

Africa: He finally realizes the situation with Zimbabwe is reaching a point where South Africa may not be able to control the fallout.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa warned President Robert Mugabe yesterday that "we sink or swim together" and that economic collapse in Zimbabwe affected the whole region. Delivering rare words of censure to his Zimbabwean counterpart, he urged Mr Mugabe to "understand" that his actions had "an impact" on his neighbours. He has refrained from criticising Mr Mugabe in the past, arguing that he could best influence his behaviour behind the scenes. By issuing this stern public warning, he sent a strong signal that he had lost patience and that South Africa was toughening its policy towards its troublesome neighbour. ....Aziz Pahad, South Africa's deputy foreign minister, has spoken of the danger of a "failed state on our doorstep" and has called for "fundamental changes" in Mr Mugabe's economic policies. Zimbabwe's crisis has caused millions of its citizens to flee to neighbouring countries. Official figures issued in Harare suggest that about 3.4 million people - a quarter of the population - are living abroad. Some 1.2 million have fled to South Africa, more than any other country, and Mr Mbeki fears that if the collapse continues the numbers of migrants will climb further.

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