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South African President Mbeki Seen Referring Zimbabwe Crisis To Region

Following the apparent failure of his personal intervention in Zimbabwe's political crisis last week, South African President Thabo Mbeki is expected to refer the deadlock between Harare's ruling party and the opposition to a "troika" of regional leaders assigned oversight by the Southern African Development Community

Sources in the ruling ZANU-PF party said that with the troika now chaired by Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos, close to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the SADC troika is unlikely to pressure Harare for a compromise in the crisis talks. The other members of the SADC troika are Swaziland and Tanzania.

Mr. Mbeki flew to Harare last Thursday in an effort to save the crisis talks he has been mediating from collapse. But Mr. Mugabe would not budge on key points including the date of the next elections and the adoption of a new constitution before balloting.

Founding President Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change told a rally in Harare on Sunday that Mr. Mbeki should refer the matter to SADC, and threatened to boycott the elections if opposition demands are not met.

Researcher Chris Maroleng of South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it is appropriate for President Mbeki to refer the talks deadlock to the SADC troika on Zimbabwe.

But political analyst Tapera Kapuya, a fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C., said not much can be expected from a troika whose Angolan chair and Swazi vice chair have weak democratic credentials.

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