Mbeki sticks to quiet diplomacy, says will be no regime change

South African President Thabo Mbeki insisted Thursday that negotiations between Zimbabwe's ruling party and its opposition were the only way to end the political and economic crisis and ruled out any outside efforts to force a change in government.
"We are not going to be involved in any regime change in Zimbabwe," Mbeki said during parliamentary question time. "We are not going to do it. We think it is fundamentally wrong."
"We can't take on our shoulders the decision to determine who shall be the government of the people of Zimbabwe. It's not going to happen," he said.
In the face of mounting political repression and economic collapse, Mbeki was earlier this year named to mediate in the crisis. So far there have been no tangible results, with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe refusing to make any concessions to a weak and divided opposition.
Mbeki told parliament that Zimbabwe's ruling party and its opposition both believed that it was possible to hold free and fair elections next year. He said it was wrong to use sanctions to pressure the government.
Mugabe has blamed Western sanctions for his economic woes, and clamped down on an opposition he accuses of being Western stooges. But most observers say that it is Mugabe's disastrous economic policies that are to blame for inflation of nearly 8,000 percent, unemployment of 80 percent and shortages of most basic products.
Western countries have imposed a travel ban on Mugabe and other ruling party leaders to protest violations of democratic and human rights following the government ordered, often violent seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms that began in 2000 and disrupted the agriculture-based economy. Some U.S. enterprises are barred from trading with Zimbabwe.
Foreign loans, development aid and investment have dried up because of the political and economic turmoil in what was once the region's breadbasket.

Updated : 2021-01-28 16:30 GMT+08:00