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AU Chiefs Expected To Give Harare Talks Impetus After G8 Summit


Efforts to bring Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai together for power-sharing talks could receive a fresh impetus following the Group of Eight summit in Japan when Tanzanian President and African Union Chairman Jakaya Kikwete and AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping arrive in Harare for discussions including South African President Thabo Mbeki, Tsvangirai told VOA on Tuesday.

Reports from Pretoria said Mr. Mbeki has come up with a draft proposal that has been circulated to all concerned parties.

Under the Kenyan-style deal, Mr. Mugabe would continue as president and Tsvangirai would become prime minister, while rival opposition leader Arthur Mutambara and former finance minister and presidential hopeful Simba Makoni would receive top cabinet posts.

Tsvangirai told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that no talks will take place until Kikwete and Ping arrive in Harare in the coming days.

Correspondent Benedict Nhlapho reported from Pretoria that South Africa on Tuesday urged Zimbabwe to establish a government inclusive of all stakeholders, saying the country’s problems cannot be solved under current political conditions.

Meanwhile Western nations seemed likely to be able to pass a United Nations Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on President Mugabe and other top Harare officials. A vote on the U.S.-drafted resolution for sanctions is expected later this week.

"Yes, we think" nine of the 15 votes needed to approve the resolution are lined the French ambassador to the U.N., Jean-Maurice Ripert, told reporters. "It's obvious there is global support for tougher measures."

Strengthening that view was the briefing to the Security Council on Tuesday by U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, Tanzanian foreign minister until last year.

Migiro, who observed the African Union summit in Egypt last week, told the council Mugabe's re-election in an election widely condemned as illegitimate "has the potential to affect regional peace and security in profound ways."

Migiro added: "This profound crisis of legitimacy is further compounded by the paralysis of state institutions. There is currently no functioning parliament. Civil society has been silenced and intimidated," Migiro concluded. "The principle of democracy is at stake."

The proposed U.N. sanctions include an international arms embargo and a freeze on the personal assets of Mugabe and 11 other top government officials whom the U.S. believes played a key role in using violence to intimidate Mr. Mugabe's opposition.

African Union leaders at the Group of Eight summit adopted a resolution urging dialogue in Zimbabwe, but they did not directly criticize Mugabe or the runoff.

The AU leaders said they were "deeply concerned" about the situation - but their only commitment was to support "the will" for a unity government.

After briefing the Security Council, Migiro emphasized that Mugabe must negotiate a political solution with the opposition and Tsvangirai, who dropped out of a June 27 presidential run-off election citing state-sponsored beatings and killings of his supporters.

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the G-8 resolution supporting U.N. action was important because it sent a clear message to Mr. Mugabe that the entire world is watching Zimbabwe.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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