Harare: Zimbabwe`s foreign minister on Friday denied his government had attacked South African President Jacob Zuma and the regional bloc SADC following unusually sharp criticism of veteran ruler Robert Mugabe.
"Government has never and will never attack SADC," Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said in the state-owned Herald newspaper after meeting with diplomats from the Southern African Development Community.
"We are friends and allies. If there was an attack, it was not from government but from somewhere. You know who speaks on behalf of government or ZANU-PF. They have never said anything."
SADC`s security organ called on Zimbabwe to end political violence and respect basic freedoms, in a sharply worded communiqué from a March 31 summit.
"We will not brook any dictation from any source. We are a sovereign country. Even our neighbours cannot dictate to us. We will resist that," Mugabe said the following day, according to the state news agency.
The state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper went a step further with a personal attack on Zuma describing him as a "liability, not only to South Africa, but also to the rest of the continent”.
The two incidents sparked a war of words with Pretoria and prompted Harare to dispatch an official on a damage-control mission to SADC states.