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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Warns Constitutional Tinkering Endangers Talks

Movement for Democratic Change founding President Morgan Tsvangirai says said on Wednesday that constitutional revisions proposed by the government which would expand parliament and alter the rules for presidential succession put in danger negotiations being mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Tsvangirai told reporters that the constitutional amendment is not in the public interest, but merely aims to further entrench the government of President Robert Mugabe.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported.

Despite Tsvangirai’s complaint, South African President Thabo Mbeki told his parliament this week that he has seen a “positive attitude evinced” in talks between the Harare government and the opposition which he is brokering.

Mr. Mbeki told his Cape Town parliament Tuesday that both sides in the negotiations “recognize that the people of Zimbabwe expect…nothing less than concrete action to extricate them from the difficulties they face currently."

That statement followed remarks by President Mugabe Monday in which, according to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, he “reached out” to the opposition to ask it to work with the government in matters of national interest.

The comments came in a ceremony presenting farm equipment to parliamentarians including some from both factions of the MDC. The factions later dismissed the president’s seeming extension of an olive branch as a political gimmick.

Commenting on Mbeki’s expression of satisfaction with the talks, political commentator Chido Makunike reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he has sees nothing encouraging to date in the intra-Zimbabwean talks.

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