Mugabe says wants crisis talks to succeed
Friday, 01 August 2008

REUTERS, HARARE- Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said on Wednesday crisis talks with the opposition were going well and he wanted negotiations aimed at solving the country's political impasse to succeed.

Mugabe's comments came as Zimbabwe's central bank took steps to shore up the worthless currency in the country suffering economic collapse, announcing a redenomination of the Zimbabwe dollar by cutting 10 zeros from the currency.

"We're still negotiating, we want to succeed. Negotiations are negotiations, they are not a card game... You find room for compromise, sometimes compromise is difficult and you stand by your proposals as presented. You debate again and again and reach a compromise. I understand the talks are going well," Mugabe told a news conference in Harare.

South African President Thabo Mbeki prepared to travel to Harare on Wednesday to meet Mugabe as part of his mediation in Zimbabwe's political crisis talks, officials said.

Mbeki denied on Tuesday that talks between Zimbabwe's rival parties had reached a deadlock, saying the power-sharing negotiations were going well and negotiators had adjourned to report back to their respective party leaders.

South Africa's department of foreign affairs said in a statement that Mbeki met opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his negotiating team in Pretoria on Tuesday.

"The meetings are part of the president's ongoing SADC-mandated facilitation process in Zimbabwe," the statement added, referring to the Southern African Development Community that asked Mbeki to mediate in Zimbabwe.

Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said that in Harare, Mbeki would also hold talks with Arthur Mutambara, leader of a smaller faction of the opposition MDC.

Senior negotiators from Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the MDC started full talks last Thursday after the two rival leaders signed a framework deal on talks on July 21. The agreement set a two-week deadline which runs out on August 4, but it could be extended.

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

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