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Amid Skepticism, S. Africa's Mbeki Reopens Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Talks


South African President Thabo Mbeki reopened deadlocked power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe's former ruling Zanu-PF and the majority Movement for Democratic Change in on Monday in Harare amid general skepticism that the impasse between president Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai can be overcome.

South African Foreign Affairs Spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said Mr. Mbeki traveled to Harare with his full mediation team. Upon his arrival, Mr. Mbeki went into a meeting with President Mugabe at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in the capital.

Sources close to the talks said Mr. Mbeki has a new deal to offer Mr. Mugabe, Tsvangirai and rival MDC head Arthur Mutambara. The negotiations have stalled on the question of the executive powers to be shared by Mr. Mugabe and Tsvangirai as prime minister.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that a breakthough is hard to envisage.

Sources said the African Union, the Southern African Development Community and Western governments are becoming frustrated with the extended negotiations. Sources close to Tsvangirai said he is losing confidence in Mr. Mbeki's mediation.

Addressing his supporters in the Midlands province capital of Gweru Sunday, Tsvangirai vowed not to sign an agreement if Mr. Mugabe does not cede powers to him. Mugabe has threatened to form a cabinet by himself if Tsvangirai persists in refusing to sign - to which Tsvangirai has countered that if talks fail, new elections should be held.

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

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