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Some Progress in Zimbabwe Unity Gov't Talks as Key Commissions Sworn In


South African facilitators continued to push negotiators for Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the two formations of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change to wrap up their discussions and deliver a final report

South African facilitators working to coax Zimbabwe's unity government partners into agreement Wednesday claimed a breakthrough after President Robert Mugabe swore in members of two key commissions.

But the facilitators continued to push negotiators for Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the two formations of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change to wrap up talks and deliver a full report. Sources said that the negotiators told the facilitation team they needed more time to conclude their discussions.

Sources close to the talks said a report was eventually presented to the facilitators, but was not definitive.

President Mugabe's lead negotiators are believed to have indicated they would not make concessions to the MDC until Western sanctions have been removed.

Facilitator Lindiwe Zulu told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that negotiators said they had taken time to attend the swearing in members of the Electoral and Human Rights commissions Mr. Mugabe.

Team leader Charles Nqakula told the South African Broadcasting Corporation that the swearing-in was in accord with the timeline for action on implementation of the Global Political Agreement for power sharing set by South African President Jacob Zuma, who was in Harare two weeks ago to personally mediate.

Sources close to the talks reported significant strides especially on the issue of electoral reforms, but said the unity principals must adopt the report before it is sent to Mr. Zuma and later Mozambican president Armando Guebuzza, head of the SADC troika on politics.

Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Director Abel Chikomo blamed the delays on intransigence on the part of the former ruling ZANU-PF party, whose defeat in the 2008 elections led to months of deadly political violence and eventually the power sharing deal.

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