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Five presidents to attend Sadc Summit

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Five foreign heads of state have confirmed attendance in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government which starts in Lilongwe today to review progress of the Sadc Mission in Mozambique.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Rejoice Shumba said the heads of State who have confirmed attendance include South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi, the Democratic Republic of Congo President Félix Tshisekedi, Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema and Botswana acting President Slumber Tsogwane.

Shumba said the foreign leaders were expected to start arriving today.

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She said Sadc Secretariat officials started arriving in the country on Saturday.

“Because of the Covid pandemic, the number of delegates attending the extraordinary summit has been halved from 400 to 200,” Shumba said.

According to the Sadc Secretariat, the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government will review progress of the Sadc Mission in Mozambique, which was deployed to support Mozambique to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism.

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President Lazarus Chakwera is expected to chair the extraordinary summit in his capacity as Sadc Chairperson.

Before the Extraordinary Summit, Ramaphosa, who is Chairperson of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, will convene an Extraordinary Sadc Organ Troika Summit, comprising Heads of State and Government from Organ Troika members namely Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and will be attended by the Republic of Mozambique.

In accordance with the Sadc Treaty, the Sadc Summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the policy-making institution of Sadc.

The ongoing violence in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado has been an issue of concern for the Sadc region since the first attack in 2017 by a militant group known locally as al-Shabab.

Today, more than 2,000 people have been killed and more than 500,000 people forced to flee their homes.

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