Zimbabwe's re-elected Mugabe to meet regional leaders at summit

# 16 August 2013 21:38 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Zimbabwe's veteran President Robert Mugabe on Friday left for Malawi to attend a summit of regional leaders, whose endorsement of his recent re-election played a key role in allaying international concerns, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The weekend summit of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government in the Malawian capital Lilongwe will deliberate a report from the outgoing chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

The report is expected to focus on the armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose government is fighting the M23 rebels, and political stability in Madagascar.

Zimbabwe's July 31 elections will also be mentioned, though it might not be a priority, state media said.

The SADC election observers have largely endorsed the polls, in which President Mugabe won resoundingly, garnering 61 percent of the vote against his rival outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's 34 percent.

Tsvangirai's party, challenging the poll outcome in court, said Friday that its senior members were already in Lilongwe to lobby for support from the SADC, though the party was not invited for the summit.

The regional group brokered the coalition government between Mugabe and Tsvangirai after disputed 2008 elections.

Other issues up for discussion at the summit include efforts to set up a region-wide Customs Union, aimed at deepening integration and promoting the smooth movement of goods and services through the removal of non-trade barriers.

Establishment of a SADC Customs Union is envisaged to complement the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) launched in 2008.