Accessibility links

S. Africa's President Wants Mbeki to Continue as Zimbabwe Mediator

South Africa's new president Kgalema Motlanthe says he fully supports former president Thabo Mbeki continuing in his role as mediator for the Zimbabwe political crisis.

In a statement issued Thursday Mr. Motlanthe says his government has full confidence in Mr. Mbeki's ability to build on the successes already made in the power sharing negotiations.

The statement comes one day after Zimbabwe's main opposition party called on the former president to resume his mediator's role.

The Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, and ruling ZANU-PF party have not been able to agree on the distribution of Cabinet posts in a national unity government.

An opposition official told VOA it is unacceptable that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is demanding control of the most senior Cabinet positions, including home affairs, finance, foreign affairs and local government.

However, ZANU-PF's top negotiator Patrick Chinamasa told the French news agency Wednesday there is no deadlock in the power-sharing talks.

Mr. Mbeki helped to broker a historic power-sharing deal between the two parties last month. He has been mediating the talks under a mandate from the 15-nation Southern African Development Community.

The power-sharing deal calls for Mr. Mugabe to remain Zimbabwe's president, while MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai would become prime minister. But the talks have stalled in recent days because of the dispute over Cabinet posts.

Mr. Mbeki's role in the talks has not been clear since he resigned from office last month after accusations that he was interfering in a corruption case against the leader of South Africa's ruling party, Jacob Zuma.

Zimbabwe has been without an official government for months following disputed presidential elections. Mr. Tsvangirai won the most votes in the first round but pulled out of the runoff because of state-sponsored violence against his supporters.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.