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South African comment on the unrest in Lesotho
Friday 25 September 1998
Yesterday's intervention, which appears not to have been sanctioned by King Letsie III, is likely to swing popular opinion against South Africa. Until now, the Basotho have accepted South Africa's influence and economic support but have been determined to remain independent so as to keep their monarchy. With fighting still raging around Makoanyane, looting progressing and Maseru in flames, Buthelezi's recent promise of talks would seem optimistic.
Mail & Guardian
WE SURELY have no right to cross the border of a country to restore law and order on behalf of a government whose legitimacy is unclear. We messed it up. Instead of assisting democracy we have hampered it. The problem we face now will be how to extricate ourselves without doing more harm. One thing is for sure: we will do so without honour. Let it end sooner rather than later.
SOUTH AFRICA has used gun-boat diplomacy to try to end political unrest in Lesotho. Whether it will facilitate or hinder a political solution remains to be seen. A more resolute and even-handed political and diplomatic initiative would possibly have made the military option unnecessary.
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