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South Africa's Zuma to Contact Zimbabwe's Mugabe on 'Weighty' Problems


South African President Jacob Zuma says he will be contacting Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on problems affecting the unity government in Harare.

Mr. Zuma was commenting after a meeting in Johannesburg with Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who briefed him on the current situation in Zimbabwe following the establishment of a unity government earlier this year.

"I will be contacting his excellency President Mugabe on the matter, as well as the leader of another party, [Arthur] Mutambara, on the issues that the prime minister has raised. But also I will contact our colleagues in the region to sensitize them on what the prime minister has briefed me on; with the sole aim of saying how we could continue working together to make quick progress in Zimbabwe," Said Mr. Zuma.

Mr. Tsvangirai told reporters he had informed the South African leader about the progress made by the unity government, but also about those issues where, he said, progress was slow.

"I am very grateful that comrade president understands our situation and he would like to do everything in his power to make sure that we move forward in a positive way," he said.

The leaders spoke only briefly to reporters and declined to take questions or offer any details about their discussion. However, before he traveled to South Africa, Mr. Tsvangirai had said he would be giving to Mr. Zuma a list of what he said are hundreds of violations by officials of Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF of the political agreement that brought Zimbabwe's unity government into being.

Among the violations cited earlier by Mr. Tsvangirai are what his Movement for Democratic Change party says are gratuitous arrests of members of parliament belonging to the party and ongoing violence against MDC supporters and officials.

Last month at the launch of a three day event aimed at promoting national reconciliation Mr. Mugabe acknowledged the ongoing violence saying that it must stop. He called for tolerance, respect, non-violence and dialogue as the means to resolving political differences.

Mr. Zuma said some problems raised by Mr. Tsvangirai are serious.

"There are [a] few issues that are difficult issues; few, but very weighty issues, very important. But even those issues they don't seem to be the issues that cannot be resolved," he said.

Mr. Zuma did not say when he intends to contact Mr. Mugabe.


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