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South African Mediators 'Comfortable' With Zimbabwe Talks - But MDC Sees Deadlock

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

But negotiators from the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said little progress has been made in talks with President Robert Mugabe’s longtime ruling ZANU-PF, and that a deadlock in the discussions should be declared

A member of the South African facilitation team which left Harare this week after two days of consultations with parties in the Harare unity government on issues troubling the power-sharing arrangement said Thursday that her team was “comfortable” with the situation and ongoing negotiations.

But negotiators from the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said little progress has been made in talks with President Robert Mugabe’s longtime ruling ZANU-PF, and that a deadlock in the discussions should be declared.

Political sources said mediators representing South African President Jacob Zuma who were in Harare from Monday to Wednesday put pressure on all negotiating sides to come to agreement, but without apparent results.

ZANU-PF representatives in the protracted talks reportedly told Mr. Zuma’s team they were under strict party orders not to make further concessions until Western sanctions have been removed. Negotiations were to pick up Monday, though MDC sources said it was unlikely anything would change.

South African facilitation team member Lindiwe Zulu, an adviser on international relations to Mr. Zuma, told VOA Studio 7 that mediators remain positive but want to see a conclusion to the negotiations soon.

The governing partners are haggling over the appointments of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana as well as the swearing-in of MDC provincial governors and MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett as junior agricultural minister, among many other issues.

More optimistic than some, political analyst Zenzo Nkomo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo the South Africans are experienced mediators and have a good chance of producing results despite seemingly irreconcilable differences between ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations.

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