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Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Talks Stall, But South Africa's Mbeki Upbeat

South African President Thabo Mbeki, mediator in Zimbabwe power-sharing talks, insisted on Tuesday that ruling party-opposition negotiations are “doing well” despite reports they’ve stalled over opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s position in a unity government.

Correspondent Benedict Nhlapho of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from Pretoria that Mr. Mbeki told journalists that the parties are committed to concluding the talks.

Tsvangirai spokesman George Sibotshiwe confirmed the talks reached an impasse when the ruling ZANU-PF negotiating team proposed Tsvangirai should be named third vice president whereas the Movement for Democratic Change insists he should be prime minister.

Tsvangirai himself flew to South Africa on Monday to consult with his team of negotiators led by Secretary General Tendai Biti of his MDC formation.

ZANU-PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, respectively justice and labor ministers, flew to Harare Monday for consultations with President Robert Mugabe and senior security officials in the Joint Operations Command. Some observers say the JOC is the real power in the land following contested elections and months of deadly political violence.

ZANU-PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira confirmed the party was reviewing developments. "We are making consultations with the view of making progress on the talks. We really want the conclusions to come as early as possible," Shamuyarira told a news agency.

Meanwhile, Regional Coordinator Glen Mpani of the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he does not believe ZANU-PF is negotiating in good faith in offering Tsvangirai the relatively powerless position of third vice president.

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