Botswana: Masisi Meets Zambia, Zimbabwe Counterparts

Gaborone — President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi says he will meet with other SADC leaders to discuss the Islamist insurgency ravaging the Cabo Delgado region of northern Mozambique.

Attacks, including the killing of civilians and clashes with security forces in various parts of the province, have increased in recent weeks. According to news reports, militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) group were reportedly behind the conflict in the predominantly Muslim region of Cabo Delgado, which has left more than 2 500 people dead and over 700 000 displaced.

Speaking in a brief interview on Wednesday morning before undertaking a two-nation working visit to Zambia and Zimbabwe, the President said he would meet with his counterparts to discuss a wide range of security and peace issues in the region.

Dr Masisi, who is also chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, said he had a telephone call with the organ's incoming chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa on Tuesday.

He said during his stop in Zimbabwe, he would hold a troika telephone discussion with President Ramaphosa and the immediate past chairperson of the organ, President Emmerson Mnangagwa with regards to the insurgency and peace in the region.

He said following the discussions, the three leaders might call an extraordinary meeting in Mozambique, at the earliest opportunity, to discuss the matter, which has become increasingly alarming.

President Masisi said he would meet with his Zambian counterpart, President Edgar Lungu and discuss amongst others, the monumental Kazungula bridge, especially border control measures.

He said he would also urge Zambia to support Botswana's candidacy for the SADC Executive Secretary post. Botswana has fielded Permanent Secretary to the President, Mr Elias Magosi for the post, which will become vacant in August.

He said he will also court Zimbabwe to wave in Botswana's favour.

President Masisi said he will also discuss issues relating to education among others.

His delegation includes Ministers Dr Lemogang Kwape of International Affairs and Cooperation and Mr Fidelis Molao of Basic Education as well as other senior government officials. They return today (Wednesday).

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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