U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday stood by South Africa’s much-criticized quiet diplomacy with neighboring Zimbabwe.
“South Africa is very aware of the challenges in that country,” she said, referring to Zimbabwe. “South Africa is deeply involved in trying to complete adherence to the global political agreement.” Clinton addressed reporters’ questions shortly after meeting with her South African counterpart, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital. After last year’s disputed elections in Zimbabwe, the parties of longtime President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai — now the prime minister — formed a unity government under an agreement that South Africa mediated. But Mugabe’s party has been accused by its partners in government of flouting almost every part of the power-sharing agreement reached in September. Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s foreign minister, promised Friday to keep working with Zimbabwe to put implementing the power-sharing deal on a fast track. Nkoana-Mashabane said nothing about concrete steps her government had taken to ensure such action is done. Watch how South Africa remains a strategic U.S. partner »
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Clinton arrived Thursday night in South Africa from Nairobi, Kenya. The stop marks the second leg of a journey that will take her to seven African nations in 11 days.