leaders suspended Madagascar on Monday for what they call an unconstitutional
change of government earlier this month. And they have pledged financial
support for Zimbabwe's economic recovery plan. VOA reports from the site of the
summit in Ezulwini, outside Mbanane.
Leaders of the Southern African
Development Community, or SADC, said they were suspending Madagascar from of
their organization's institutions and called on its new president, Andry
Rajoelina, to step down.
Marc Ravalomanana resigned under pressure two
weeks ago and the military handed power to opposition leader Andry Rajoelina who
was then installed as head of a transitional authority.
The African Union
said the transfer was unconstitutional and western governments agreed. Many of
them have suspended non-humanitarian aid to the island nation.
leaders also expressed support for an economic recovery plan drafted by
Zimbabwe's new government of national unity.
Zimbabwe's Finance Minister,
Tendai Biti, expressed satisfaction with the meeting.
"SADC, we are very
happy. SADC does not have the economies that can sustain a $1 billion budget.
But it is the quality of the giving vis-à-vis the size of their economies. If
the bigger economies were to do so [i.e. do the same] in percentage terms, then
we wouldn't have a problem."
Biti said his government needs $2 billion in
emergency funds to jump start Zimbabwe's ailing economy and revive social
He said the government has made great strides in its few weeks
of existence, but acknowledged that SADC leaders are demanding more.
key benchmark is around issues, around the rule of law and governance, around
liberalizing the media," he said. "We accepted that and, of course, full
implementation of the global political agreement. We still have a number of
issues still outstanding. So those are issues we need to deal with and the SADC
summit was very clear on those."
But Biti said his government must also
deal with immediate needs, such as feeding its people.
The summit was
opened by Swaziland's King Mswati III who told delegates that the new power
sharing government in Zimbabwe had eased political tensions and that its
greatest challenge now was economic recovery.
"We continue to be happily
impressed by the progress made in the formation and operationalization of the
inclusive government," said Mswati III. "We are already witnessing the first
fruits of Zimbabwean unity."
But the king said Zimbabwe's economic
recovery plan cannot be implemented successfully as long as economic sanctions
continue against the country.