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Zimbabwe Talks to Resume After Consultations


South Africa's president, who is mediating talks between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF Party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, says the talks have not broken down. The talks adjourned amid reports of a deadlock over the opposition leader's role in a national unity government. Peta Thornycroft has more.

Opposition sources in Harare and South African sources close to the talks say Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, was offered a position of a vice president.

The chief negotiator for President Robert Mugabe, Patrick Chinamasa, reportedly told the negotiating teams that his mandate was to offer Mr. Tsvanagirai the role of third vice president, without executive powers.

South African President Thabo Mbeki says both parties will try to conclude negotiations within the agreed two weeks.

"They are indeed very determined to keep to that commitment," he said. "They will be adjourning shortly for a couple of days because they want to go back Harare to go and consult with their principals about the work that has been, and then come back by the end of the week to resume the negotiations. But they are proceeding."

The leader of the pressure group, the National Constitutional Assembly, Lovemore Madhuku, said Mr. Mugabe was never prepared to hand over power, even though his ZANU-PF party lost its parliamentary majority to the opposition in the March elections.

Madhuku said he would not be surprised if Mr. Mugabe now proceeded to choose a cabinet and summon parliament, which he had delayed ahead of the negotiations.

In the March presidential election, Mr. Tsvangirai got more votes than Mr. Mugabe, but not enough to avoid a runoff. Mr. Tsvangirai pulled out of the runoff because of what he called a campaign of state-sponsored violence against his supporters.

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