Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama calls South African President

from FP magazine:

This morning's Times (London) reported that the Obama administration is planning a tougher stance against Zimbabwe's self-ordained president-for-all-time, Robert Mugabe. Then at the White House Daily Press Briefing today, we learned that Obama made a call to the president of South Africa, Kaglema Motlanthe.

Is Obama calling to talk Zimbabwe? Now would be good timing. Just today at a summit in South Africa, Mugabe and the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai look to have agreed to form their long-awaited unity government....

Mbeki has muddled through moderating talks since September, favoring his fellow former-anticolonial comrade Mugabe.

Since Mbeki resigned as president and interim leader Motlanthe took over, the odds of South Africa putting on the pressure are even lower. ... As Human Rights Watch analyst Tiseke Kasambala recently told me, "there are domestic goings on in South Africa now that will likely take South Africa's eye off the ball."

None of the rumored Africa people from the new administration have returned e-mail messages about Obama-Zimbabwe policy. But my hope is that Mugabe's name came up in the phone call. I would bet more money on that than I would the Zimbabwean currency.

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