We haven't changed on Robert Mugabe – Khama
BOTSWANA President Ian Khama says his country's policy calling for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe is in consonance with the current regional position taken at the last two Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) summits.
He said contrary to media reports that Botswana has changed her position (which was against lifting of sanctions) there is nothing untoward about it, as Botswana has been consistent with earlier decisions of SADC on Zimbabwe sanctions.
"Own reasons for wanting the sanctions lifted are firstly for all parties internal and external to help provide a conducive climate for the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to succeed and secondly because ZANU-PF chooses to use the sanctions’ issue as an excuse for them not to fully deliver within the process they are part of.
This lame excuse should be put to the test," he said.
Khama said for reconciliation in Zimbabwe to be successful and lead to the holding of credible elections, it is pertinent that there is effective monitoring of the process every step of the way. He said the Botswana government is concerned about ongoing developments that can easily lead to a further deterioration of the situation in Zimbabwe, resulting in the collapse of the GPA.
The President said Botswana’s foreign policy is based in maintaining friendly relations within the global community, adding that at the moment his government is pursuing a long-term strategy to consolidate and expand the friendly ties that exist between Botswana and other countries, aimed at building strategic partnerships for mutual benefit.
"Just recently I undertook very successful visits to South Africa and Japan, where I had very fruitful interactions with my counterparts and other high ranking dignitaries, including the business community," he said.
Khama said his recent visit to Tokyo was successful in strengthening bilateral ties and deepening the strategic partnership between Botswana and Japan, in a mutually beneficial way.
He added that the two countries have established a Joint Economic Committee at ministerial level to set forth goals and tasks for intensifying cooperation.
"While our resources are limited, as residents of the global village we nonetheless also recognise our own responsibility to provide assistance, however modest, where we can.
Over the past year government has joined hands with others in the international community in extending assistance to victims of natural disasters in neighbouring states and further afield in keeping with our shared ideals of showing compassion for those most in need, most recently to victims in Haiti, Pakistan and Niger," he said.