- The government of Botswana has stepped up its efforts to level its relations with the neighbouring Zimbabwe.
This follows the visit by the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Dikgakgamatso Ndelu Seretse, to Harare just ahead of the 26th Session of the Botswana/Zimbabwe Bilateral Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security scheduled for 22-26 February 2010, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
The Joint Permanent Commission will discuss all matters relating to defence and security relations between the two countries.
Some of the issues washed aside just before the bilateral commission meeting was the release of the three Botswana rangers arrested and charged in Zimbabwe, as well as the confiscation of Botswana property in rifles and vehicles used by the rangers.
“The purpose of the meeting was to prepare for the smooth holding of the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation (JPCC) on Defence and Security. The Ministers felt obliged to clear the atmosphere and restore the relations between the two countries following the detention of three wildlife officers in Zimbabwe,” a statement issued from the office of the Botswana presidency said.
The statement further said the Zimbabwe Ministers expressed their appreciation for the proactive approach to the issue taken by Minister Seretse, in calling for the meeting to discuss the issue and pave way for the upcoming JPCC.
It also said the Zimbabwe Ministers agreed that they will: reconsider the prohibited status imposed on the three wildlife officers; immediately release Botswana properties (vehicle and rifles) which the Zimbabwe authorities held as exhibits at the courts; and immediately withdraw the appeal against the three officers.
Zimbabwean authorities had appealed against the court’s decision to release the three wildlife officials.
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