UK Foreign Secretary's visit to South Africa media statement by the UDM President (7 July 2008)

We note that the British Foreign Secretary is in the country to lobby South African leaders to support sanctions against Zimbabwe. Britain is one country that should be working closely with SADC to find a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis; especially given the fact that the Zimbabwean land issue arose from the Lancaster House agreement between Britain and Zimbabwe, wherein Britain is accused of not honouring its compensation commitments.

A lot was expected when Gordon Brown became UK Prime Minister. It was hoped that a new approach to Zimbabwe would be followed, but thus far it seems that he is perpetuating his predecessor's strategy of making Zimbabwe South Africa's sole responsibility, and we end up shouldering the blame for the failures of the Lancaster House between the UK and Zimbabwe.

It is a pity that the UK Foreign Secretary on his return to Britain will fly over Zimbabwe without landing. He should stop over there to arrange a meeting between Brown, Mbeki, Mugabe and Tsvangirai; that is where the ultimate resolution of the political crisis in Zimbabwe lies.

The UK claims to support President Mbeki's initiative in Zimbabwe but at the same time are calling for sanctions. Those sanctions will hit ordinary Zimbabweans, not the politicians at the top, and the stream of people fleeing from Zimbabwe to South Africa will increase, thereby putting further strain on our ability to meet the socio-economic needs of our people.

The time of using South Africa to fight Britain's battles must come to an end.