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Mbeki denies Zimbabwe negotiations deadlocked PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 July 2008

PRETORIA, Tue Jul 29, ( - South African President Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday denied that talks between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC had hit deadlock and said they were "doing very well".

A Movement for Democratic Change opposition official said on Monday that talks in Pretoria were deadlocked because the MDC could not accept an offer for its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to be vice president of a unity government.

"The negotiators are negotiating. As you know they have been meeting here now for a number of days and they are continuing to do that. They (talks) are doing very well," Mbeki told reporters in Pretoria.

Tsvangirai won a first round presidential vote on March 29 but pulled out of the June 27 second round citing systematic violence which the MDC says has killed 120 of its supporters.

The MDC says only Tsvangirai can lead a new government.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai are under heavy international pressure, including from within Africa, to negotiate a national unity government to end a crisis that has ruined the economy and flooded neighboring states with millions of refugees.

Mbeki, who is mediating the talks, said they would soon adjourn for a couple of days to allow negotiators to return home to consult with their leaders.

"They are continuing to talk. They haven't concluded and they will be adjourning shortly for a couple of days because they want to go to Harare and consult with their principals. And then they will come back by the end of the week," Mbeki said.

Senior negotiators from ZANU-PF and the MDC started full talks last Thursday.


The negotiations followed a deal on the framework for discussions signed on July 21.

The MDC official said Tsvangirai would meet his negotiators on Tuesday, before proceeding to a meeting of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)'s committee on politics, defense and security in Angola on Wednesday.

Deeply concerned by the violence and the economic crisis, SADC and the African Union (AU) are pushing for a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe.

The southern African grouping appointed Mbeki as Zimbabwe mediator last year.

ZANU-PF has said it will not accept any deal that fails to recognize Mugabe's re-election or seeks to reverse his land redistribution program, under which the government has seized thousands of white-owned farms since 2000.

The parties also disagree over how long a national unity government should remain in power. Tsvangirai's MDC wants fresh elections held as soon as possible, while Mugabe, who has ruled since 1980, wants to carry on with his new five-year mandate.

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