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South African Mediators Conclude Zimbabwe Consultations, Return to Pretoria

Lindiwe Zulu, a foreign policy advisor to President Zuma, said having met with principals and negotiators in Harare her team had fulfilled its mandate and would now brief President Jacob Zuma

A high-level South African mediation team that met this week with principals of the Zimbabwe power-sharing government and their negotiators on resolving issues troubling the unity government flew back to Pretoria on Tuesday to report to President Jacob Zuma on progress in the talks.

Team member Lindiwe Zulu, an advisor to President Zuma on foreign policy, told VOA that having met with principals and negotiators in Harare, the team had fulfilled its mandate and would brief Mr. Zuma who will map the way forward.

Negotiations continued in Harare, meanwhile. Sources said that on Tuesday it was agreed to speed up media reforms. They said the discussions also focused on reforms in the cabinet where there have been disagreements over points of protocol.

The Southern African Development Community has called for this round of talks to be wrapped up on December 5 with the understanding that there should be results by then.

SADC diplomatic sources said they are wary of setting a deadline, though it is generally agreed regional leaders have expressed concern at the seemingly endless talks and want them to be concluded by December 5, 30 days after a Maputo meeting of the SADC troika on politics and security which launched the latest round of talks.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 that Cabinet reforms are important as issues such as who should chair the Cabinet when Mr. Mugabe is absence have been a source of friction.