Maputo — THE minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe, has outlined challenges to be addressed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) peace, defence and security organ now under the leadership of Tanzania.
These are, according to Mr Membe the Madagascar political stalemate, the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe elections.
Apart from Tanzania, other members of the Troika organ are Zambia and the immediate former holder of the position, South Africa, whose President Jacob Zuma handed over the mantle to President Jakaya Kikwete here on Thursday.
Mr Membe said SADC leaders meeting here are expected to resolve the crisis in Madagascar between President Andry Rajoelina and the deposed President Marc Ravalomanana. Both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana appeared before the Troika organ meeting at which Presidents Kikwete and Zuma were joined by Zambia's President, Michael Satta.
According to Mr Membe SADC would like Ravalomanana to return to power in Madagascar to pave way for fresh elections. He added that SADC was considering joining forces with the Great Lakes Region member countries to flush out rebel Group-M23 which has been fighting government forces in the DRC, thus, destabilizing the region.
Mr Membe said Zimbabwe has been making steady progress since formation of a unity government three years ago, noting that the SADC Summit here was to receive the report on progress of the country's elections roadmap adopted by regional leaders. Host Mozambique is expected to take over, from Angola, the leadership of the regional body for the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, President Kikwete arrived here on Thursday night and headed straight to the Summit Conference Centre to assume the Troika Organ's leadership. The Organ held its meeting until well past midnight. In another development, the Summit officially opened here yesterday with Zambia and Malawi Presidents Sata and Banda expected to deliver their maiden speeches.
Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who is SADC outgoing chairperson, was to give prizes to regional winners of the 2011 SADC essay competition and media awards. President Dos Santos was scheduled to present a keynote address before handing over the SADC chairperson's badge to his Mozambican successor President Armando Guebuza.