Unity government 'vindicates quiet diplomacy ' – Motlanthe

Cape Town – South Africa's much-maligned policy of quiet diplomacy towards neighbouring Zimbabwe will be vindicated by the formation of a power-sharing government there, President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Tuesday.

Motlanthe told parliament that Zimbabwe’s new unity government was considered both "inclusive and democratic", as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai prepares to become prime minister on Wednesday.

"Shortly, Mr Morgan Tsvangarai will be sworn in as the prime minister of Zimbabwe," Motlanthe said.

"In essence this is a vindication that our approach to the crisis of Zimbabwe all along has been correct, despite scepticism in certain quarters."

Reconstructing the economy

South Africa has often come under international pressure to take stronger action against neighbouring President Robert Mugabe, but insisted on its policy of "quiet diplomacy" as the country descended ever deeper into crisis.

"The challenge is to deal with both the humanitarian crisis plus the reconstruction of the economy. We therefore call on the international community to come to the aid of Zimbabwe and its people," said Motlanthe.

Mugabe has ruled since independence in 1980, and has seen the country fall from a regional breadbasket to a crippled state where inflation runs into hundreds of millions and more than 3 000 have died of cholera since August. – AFP