Cape Town – Zimbabwe's outspoken foreign affairs deputy minister, Chris Mutsvangwa has reportedly said Zimbabwe should stop portraying itself as a "regional leader" as this was "not right" for the country.
Mutsvangwa's remarks came after Zimbabwe last week called on African leaders to boycott a two day EU-Africa summit in Brussels because President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace was denied a visa to travel with him.
Mugabe's own travel ban to the EU had been relaxed to allow him to attend the summit.
Harare had urged the AU to shun the summit to protest what it termed "dictation" by the EU on who is eligible to attend the summit. But the AU rejected the call.
According to a News Day report, Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe was failing to manage its diplomacy by trying to portray itself as the "regional leader" and trying to make its stance a common position for the whole continent.
SA's foreign policy
"We should not try to posit ourselves as if we are the super champions of this region. This is not right for Zimbabwe," Mutswangwa was quoted as saying.
He said Zimbabwe should work with other countries and be "sensitive to their sensitivities".
Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe should stop fooling itself to think that it could influence South Africa's foreign policy.
The country's state owned media last week reported that President Jacob Zuma had also shunned the summit in support of Mugabe.
Zuma sent a ministerial delegation to represent his country.
Mutsvangwa said SA's foreign policy was "too important" to be guided by Zimbabwe.
EU barred Eritrea from attending the summit, while another full African
Union member, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, was also not
Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the
International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and war crimes,
was also not invited.
The summit which kicks off on
Wednesday will gather representatives of 90 nations from both
continents, including 65 heads of state and government.