The senior partners in Zimbabwe's national unity government once again failed in talks Friday to reach agreement on a slate of issues undermining their uneasy collaboration.
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara have been meeting regularly for several weeks in an effort to resolve an array of issues, some dating from before the formation of the government in mid-February.
Political sources said the gap between Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai has been widening, not narrowing, particularly in light of what appears to be an official crackdown on activists of Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, the press and human rights defenders.
Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told VOA that Mr Mugabe's security personnel turned Mr. Tsvangirai's motorcade away from State House on Monday though the president had invited the prime minister to meet the visiting North Korean delegation.
Statements by Mr. Tsvangirai had led observers to expect the three principals to address the nation Friday on their points of agreement, but sources said an impasse continued over who should be running the Reserve Bank and the Office of the Attorney General.
Sources said Mr. Mugabe has compromised to the extent of revisiting his appointments in late 2008 of governors, ambassadors and ministerial permanent secretaries.
Meanwhile, pressure was mounting for the principals to find common ground. The African Development Bank said it will provide budgetary support only if the issues are resolved.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who is also secretary general of Mr. Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for Democratic Change, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that failure to resolve the issues will put off international donors.
Earnest Mudzengi, director of the National Constitutional Assembly, a leading civic group, said growing tensions in the government are not advancing the national interest.