Magazine article New African

Botswana Is Not Working against Zimbabwe: Botswana Is Not Aware of, or Party to, Any Plans to Enforce a Regime Change in Any Country in the Region. Even If the Americans and the British Were Planning to Do So, Botswana Would Never Allow Itself to Be Used for Such Treacherous Activities

Magazine article New African

Botswana Is Not Working against Zimbabwe: Botswana Is Not Aware of, or Party to, Any Plans to Enforce a Regime Change in Any Country in the Region. Even If the Americans and the British Were Planning to Do So, Botswana Would Never Allow Itself to Be Used for Such Treacherous Activities

Article excerpt

I take the floor on a matter of serious concern to my government. We are being accused of working with the Americans and the British to bring about a forceful regime change in a member state of the SADC, namely our friendly neighbour, the Republic of Zimbabwe.

It is alleged that the two countries are planning to use a United States military base in Botswana to launch such military attack. Front-page articles in newspapers of the region have made allegations of a meeting in Botswana between the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, [Walter] Kansteiner, who was in Botswana in May, and the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Jack Straw, who has never been to Botswana, to hatch a plan for the alleged forceful regime change.

The allegations go on without abatement. However, these allegations are curiously unsubstantiated, with no supporting evidence whatsoever. We do not understand the basis for the allegations, which are completely false.

Botswana will never involve itself in any attempts to bring about forceful regime changes in neighbouring countries. Botswana is not aware of, or party to, any plans to enforce a regime change in any country in the region. Even if the Americans and the British were planning to do so, Botswana would never allow itself to be used for such treacherous activities.

In fact, the international community knows and respects Botswana's position on matters of peace, democracy and respect for the sovereign independence and territorial integrity of states.

No country would therefore approach Botswana or be given an opportunity to place such demands on the Botswana government.

Regarding the alleged American airbase, let me state for the record that the United States does not own any military base in Botswana. The airbase that is being referred to is the Thebephatshwa Airbase that is wholly owned by the government of Botswana.

The airbase was constructed during my term as commander of the Botswana Defence Force with our own resources and without any assistance from the United States or any other country for that matter. …

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