The meeting on Thursday between the officials from the US’s National Security Staff, Department of State, Department of Treasury and the US Agency for International Development and senior officials from Namibia, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa and the Sadc secretariat was specifically on the Zimbabwe situation.
It also came a few days before the forthcoming emergency Sadc summit and a few weeks after the regional body came hard on President Robert Mugabe over the violence and arrests of his opponents.
The US officials who attended are some of President Barack Obama’s senior advisors on African affairs.
South African President Jacob Zuma’s international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu who is also one of the facilitators in the Zimbabwe inter party talks was among the officials who attended as well as Tanki Mothae, the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security cooperation director.
“The United States affirmed the importance of Sadc’s role as guarantor of the 2008 Global Political Agreement and lauded Sadc’s recent announcement that it would support Zimbabwe’s efforts to formulate guidelines for peaceful, free and fair elections,” the US State Department said in a statement.
Johnie Carson, the senior advisor for African Affairs at the National Security Staff “emphasised concern over the recent increase in politically motivated arrests, harassment and violence throughout Zimbabwe.”
Police have been accused of targeting Zanu PF opponents following the arrests of Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and co-minister in the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation Moses Mzila Ndlovu (MDC) recently.
Civil society activists and MDC supporters have also been targeted in a campaign that has been linked to elections now expected next year.
The Sadc summit is expected to reiterate the tough stance taken by the organ on politics, defence and security at the Livingstone summit, which stunned Mugabe and Zanu PF.