Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, missed talks in Swaziland on the crisis in his country on Monday after his rival and negotiating partner, President Robert Mugabe, refused to give him a passport.
The talks were rescheduled for next week, but the government of neighboring Botswana condemned Zimbabwe's failure to issue the passport as "totally unacceptable and an indication of bad faith."
Botswana's president, Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who has refused to recognize Mugabe's legitimacy since a discredited, violence-scarred June presidential runoff, also called on other African nations and the United Nations to insist on a new, internationally supervised election in Zimbabwe if the deadlock in power-sharing talks continued.
Botswana's stance will put other countries in southern Africa on the spot. All of them sent election observers to Zimbabwe for the presidential runoff - and they unanimously agreed the election had not been free or fair. So far, they have opted to pressure Mugabe, who has been in power for 28 years, and Tsvangirai, his longtime rival, to negotiate a pact to jointly govern the country.
Botswana, in a news release issued by its Foreign Ministry on Monday, blamed Mugabe's party for the deadlock in achieving a unity government, saying the party was "seeking to dominate power."
Heads of state from across the region watched Mugabe and Tsvangirai sign a power-sharing deal more than a month ago. But the two men have never gotten past the first choices needed to form a government: how to share the government ministries between their parties.