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Southern African Leaders Take up Zimbabwe, Madagascar in Maputo Summit

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said it had not been informed of the SADC meeting therefore its leader did not travel to Maputo

Southern African regional leaders were meeting Thursday in Mozambique on the margins of the inauguration of President Armando Guebuza, looking at the political situations in Zimbabwe and crisis-torn Madagascar.

In Zimbabwe, however, the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said it had not been informed of the meeting therefore its leader did not travel to Maputo.

SADC foreign ministers took up the Zimbabwe question in Mozambique last week and expressed concern at the slow pace of negotiations in Harare, joining South Africa which has urged the negotiating parties to conclude talks to resolve "outstanding issues" troubling power sharing.

Vincent Magwenya, a spokesman for South African President Jacob Zuma, told reporters in Mozambique that Mr. Guebuza, chairman of the SADC troika or committee on politics, defense and security, and Mr. Zuma, mediator in the Zimbabwe talks, were to brief their peers on the situation in Harare.

But spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that nothing can be decided in Maputo without MDC participation. Media reports suggested President Robert Mugabe attended Mr. Guebuza's inauguration but did not take part in the summit.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, head of the smaller MDC wing, declined to comment. Minister of State Dydimus Mutasa, attached to the office of President Mugabe, declined to comment when reached by VOA.

Pretoria-based political analyst George Mkhwanazi said he doubted that the SADC summit would achieve much without the MDC being present.

Negotiations between ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations were to resume Saturday as the unity government parties try to iron out disagreements over the Reserve Bank governor and attorney general, among other issues.

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