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The BBC's Grant Ferrett in Harare
"Mr Mbeki's most forceful comments since the illegal occupation of white owned farms began"
 real 28k

Friday, 5 May, 2000, 22:53 GMT 23:53 UK
Mbeki speech in excerpts

The colonial legacy faces both leaders
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki called for a "cooperative and non-confrontational" solution to Zimbabwe's dispute in his speech opening the Zimbabwe Trade Fair in Bulawayo on Friday.

The following are excerpts from his speech, as published by the South African news agency SAPA website:

Our two economies, those of Zimbabwe and South Africa, are the largest in our region. They also enjoy a considerable degree of integration...

Inevitably, therefore, both of us have responsibilities that extend beyond our borders...

Mr President, I might take advantage of this occasion to mention the concern you had, a few years ago, that we, the black people of South Africa, should not make the grievous mistake of allowing the outbreak of a civil war among themselves.

I am convinced that the interventions you made in this regard contributed to turn us away from a path that would have been truly disastrous.

Colonial legacy

Land dispossession was one of the most iniquitous results of the colonisation of Zimbabwe...

Both of our countries, which experienced extensive land dispossession of the indigenous majority by those who colonised our countries, are confronted by the challenge to address this colonial legacy.

Our peoples, on both banks of the Limpopo, both black and white, have a responsibility to recognise the fact that the land question constitutes an important part of the national agenda.

Accordingly, they must commit themselves to work together to address this central question, to advance the common good.

Clearly, the resultant land redistribution also imposes the obligation to ensure that such land is used productively, to help provide a better life for the people...

To you, the people of Zimbabwe, I would like to convey the message that the overwhelming majority of your brothers and sisters south of the Limpopo share with you the hope that the land question in Zimbabwe will be addressed successfully.

National consensus

At the same time, as a people, we are convinced that it would be best that this important matter is dealt with in a co-operative and non-confrontational manner among all the people of this sister country, both black and white, reflecting the achievement of a national consensus on this issue, encompassing all Zimbabweans.

Accordingly, we trust that ways and means will be found to end the conflict that has erupted in some areas of Zimbabwe, occasioned by the still unresolved land question in this country.

Peace, stability, democracy and social progress in Zimbabwe are as important for yourselves as they are for the rest of the region...

Inasmuch as we know from our own history that you are ready to assist us to achieve peace, stability, democracy and social progress in our own country, so are we, in the common interest, willing and ready to work with you for peace, stability, democracy and social progress in Zimbabwe, in our region and the rest of our continent.

The motto on our new national coat of arms, which we unveiled a mere eight days ago, expressed in an ancient African language, says: People who are different come together.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:

05 May 00 | Africa
Mbeki urges end to land crisis
03 May 00 | UK Politics
UK imposes Zimbabwe arms ban
19 Apr 00 | Business
Zimbabwe's economy under threat
06 Mar 00 | Africa
Points of view: Occupying farms
05 May 00 | Africa
Mbeki's quiet approach
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