Sadc-appointed mediator to the Zimbabwe crisis South African President Jacob Zuma Tuesday met British Prime Minister David Cameron in Pretoria where they discussed Libya and Zimbabwe, among other political hotspots.
Although details of their discussions were still sketchy, it is believed they focused on progress made by the inclusive government in implementing the GPA, the election roadmap, Zuma’s facilitation role and restrictive measures imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his inner cabal.
Cameron confirmed to journalists soon after the closed-door meeting at Zuma’s Union Buildings Offices in Pretoria that Zimbabwe had been discussed, but did not reveal the extent of their discussions.
President Mugabe has often accused Britain of meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs and mobilising the United States and the European Union to impose sanctions on Harare over the land reform programme, which he insists is a bilateral issue.
He has also accused Britain of trying to effect regime change by supporting opposition parties and private media houses and NGOs.
Zuma’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, who is also part of Zuma’s facilitation team which has been engaging GPA negotiators to find a lasting solution to the country’s political crisis, could not be reached for comment, while a senior press officer in the president’s office, Zanele Mngadi, could also not be reached.
However, according to Sapa, a news agency, Cameron told reporters he and Zuma believed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi needed to step down from power.
“It is no secret that we have disagreed on some aspects of how to respond to violence in Libya. We agree on the ultimate destination that Gaddafi must step aside to allow the people of Libya to decide their own future in a democratic and united way,” said Cameron.
“We share the same strategic vision. We believe that people’s legitimate aspirations for a job and a voice must be met with reform and openness, not with repression and violence,” said Cameron.
Zuma added: “What happens to Gaddafi must be decided by the Libyan people. You need to negotiate how, why and where he must go.”
Cameron said trade between Britain and South Africa was worth £9 billion (R100 billion) a year and that British exports to South Africa in the first four months of 2011 were up 50% over the previous year.