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Pressed by Regional Leaders, Zimbabwe Principals Agree on Reform

The three principals in Zimbabwe's unity government have agreed to set timelines for solving and implementing outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement ahead of general elections, as demanded by regional leaders.

President Robert Mugabe met Monday with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to discuss the outcome of the Southern African Development Community summit in Luanda last week.

The three leaders came under intense pressure from Sadc for failing to implement agreed positions.

Negotiators representing the three parties say they have reached a dead end on the issues and only the principals or Sadc-appointed facilitator President Jacob Zuma of South Africa can unblock the political logjam.

Signaling a hard line stance that might torpedo the implementation, Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo insisted sanctions must be removed first before his party can make concessions.

Zanu-PF has been pushing for elections this year even without basic democratic reforms including a new constitution.

Mutambara told VOA that it’s possible to hold elections any time as long as leaders agree on key reforms.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mugabe has reiterated his call for an end to political violence, but is catching flak for failing to condemn the murder last week of MDC official, Cephas Magura by alleged Zanu PF activists.

Addressing mourners at the burial of a headman in Zvimba Wednesday, Mr. Mugabe said people should embrace peace and desist from violence as the country heads towards the next election, whose date remains up in the air.

But Mr. Mugabe has been criticized by activists and analysts who accuse him of failing to cite Magura’s killing in his speech.

Political commentator Dumisani Nkomo of the Habakkuk Trust in Bulawayo told VOA the president should show more commitment to his anti-violence rhetoric.