chapter  5
14 Pages

Swaziland's International Relations

WithAlan R. Booth

Certainly few people would talk of Swaziland as a modern-day "bantustan." To be sure, the threats to its independence, both economic and political, are numerous. But Swaziland, with all its vulnerabilities, is internationally recognized as independent, and it has corresponding options. Swaziland has diplomatic relations with all of the major Western powers and with many of those Third World nations with Western leanings. Swaziland's membership, along with Botswana and Lesotho, in the Southern African Customs Union has been a second source of concern. Each country sees that relationship as inhibitive of autonomy and restrictive of development. Swaziland takes some advantage of its strategic situation. Regionally, its relations with Mozambique—which neighbors it but ideologically is a world away—are improving. Two issues more than any others highlighted in the early 1980s the cruel dilemma in which Swaziland's regional position placed it. One was over its handling of South African refugees, and the other concerned the kingdom's claims to land.