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Zimbabwe Unity Government Partners Pick Up Talks Seeking Near-Term Deal


The power-sharing negotiators were expected to hold meetings through Sunday enabling them to report on Monday to the unity government principals who in turn are expected to communicate with regional mediators

Discussions on the numerous issues destabilizing Zimbabwe's unity government resumed on Friday in Harare following the expression by South African officials of concern and impatience at the slow pace of negotiations to date.

But sources said the talks did not get far as Finance Minister Tendai Biti, chief negotiator for the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Transport Minister Nicholas Goche, for the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe, were not present.

The power-sharing negotiators were expected to hold meetings through Sunday enabling them to report on Monday to the unity government principals.

They will be grappling with the most divisive issues troubling the government including the leadership of the Reserve Bank and the Office of the Attorney General, and the swearing-in of MDC provincial governors.

Complicating matters, ZANU-PF's recent congress resolved that there should be no further concessions to the MDC until the former opposition party has convincingly lobbied the West to lift targeted sanctions.

The Tsvangirai MDC formation wants to revisit shared control of the Ministry of Home Affairs with MDC and ZANU-PF co-ministers, saying the arrangement has not been working. However, the MDC formation of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and ZANU-PF says it sees no problem with the setup.

The Tsvangirai formation is also demanding control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - the portfolio is held by ZANU-PF's Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that negotiations will have their hands full reaching agreement on all points.

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