PRESS RELEASE: BOTSWANA’S INTERVENTION IN THE ARREST OF WILDLIFE OFFICERS
GABORONE, 04th February 2010 – The Government of Botswana wishes to express its deep disappointment over the detention of the three wildlife officers in Zimbabwe despite attempts at finding an amicable diplomatic solution.
Efforts by Botswana have included phone calls by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon. Phandu Skelemani and the Botswana Police Commissioner, Mr. Thebeyame Tsimako to their counterparts in Zimbabwe to resolve this issue. These phone calls remain unreturned, giving the impression that the Government of Zimbabwe does not want to discuss this issue with Botswana.
Additional efforts have included our Ambassador in Harare going to the Zimbabwe Foreign Ministry several times to seek their intervention on the matter as well as the Ambassador of Zimbabwe to Botswana being summoned twice to the Foreign Ministry to seek the Zimbabwe Government’s intervention in finding an amicable diplomatic solution to the problem.
As a last endeavour, His Honour the Vice President, Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe, attempted, through the Foreign Minister of Zimbabwe, to meet with President Mugabe at the recently held African Union Meeting in Addis Ababa Ethiopia but was unsuccessful.
In view of the stance taken by the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe to rebuff all attempts by the Government of Botswana to find diplomatic and amicable solution to the problem, Botswana has taken a decision to recall its Defence and Intelligence Attachés from Zimbabwe by the end of February 2010.
The Government of the Republic of Botswana expects the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe to reciprocate by recalling its Defence and Central Intelligence Organisation Attachés from Botswana by the same date. The position of the Government of Botswana is that these two posts should be frozen and never to be filled.
Republic of Botswana – Office of the President