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International Crisis Group

Decision time in Zimbabwe

International Crisis Group (ICG)
AFRICA Briefing
Nairobi/Brussels, 8 July 2003

Posted with permission of the International Crisis Group.
Copyright to the ICG. Website:
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Change is in the air in Zimbabwe. Its citizens no longer talk about whether it will come, but rather when. All acknowledge, however, that the road will be dangerous, possibly violent. South Africa is the single country with ability to help its neighbour through the roughest patches if it is willing to engage with sufficient determination to persuade the government of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party to sit down with their challenger, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and then facilitate and mediate negotiations for a transitional government and new elections. A range of other international players need to play supporting roles, including the EU, the Southern Africa Development Commission (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth, but most directly and prominently the U.S. The visit of President Bush to South Africa on 8 July is a unique opportunity to chart action that could lead to a negotiated solution and an end to the crisis.

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