King of Lesotho told he must reverse coup

PRETORIA - The President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, and his counterparts from Zimbabwe and Botswana gave the King of Lesotho a week's grace yesterday to find an honourable way to reinstate Ntsu Mokhehle, his Prime Minister, whom he overthrew in a coup last week, writes John Carlin.

King Letsie III and Mr Mokhehle, who was elected by a landslide majority last year, were summoned to Pretoria yesterday 'like schoolboys', in the words of a South African MP, for talks with Mr Mandela, Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, and Quett Masire, President of Botswana.

Mr Mugabe said that there was no alternative to the reinstatement of Mr Mokhehle. He added that the southern African leaders had made it plain to the king they could not condone the coup. The outcome of the meeting, which lasted five hours, was an agreement for all parties to meet again in a week, by which time it was hoped that the king and Mr Mokhehle would have hammered out a peaceful compromise. Mr Mugabe said the king had said that he would do his best to resolve the crisis.

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