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Zimbabwe Leaders to Resume Talks Following Zuma Mediation


South African President Jacob Zuma, left, talk with Zimbabwean Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara at a local hotel in Harare, 26 Nov 2010

South African President Jacob Zuma, left, talk with Zimbabwean Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara at a local hotel in Harare, 26 Nov 2010

Following a mediation trip to Harare by South African President Jacob Zuma, the senior leaders in Zimbabwe's power-sharing government are to resume meetings after a two-month breakdown.

South African President Jacob Zuma said he had persuaded Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to begin talking to each other after four hours of meetings with the leaders Friday in Harare.

Zuma told reporters there had been a breakdown of communication between the leaders, but this had been resolved. He said they would restart their weekly meetings which had been suspended for two months.

"The meetings are going to resume," said Zuma. "And therefore all the issues that need to be discussed and resolved will certainly find a platform. And we are very happy. The consultation has been very good."

Zuma said there was a general understanding on the need to move forward and implement decisions made in the negotiations.

He declined to provide further details saying he would first have to brief leaders of the Southern African Development Community, which has been mediating the Zimbabwe dispute. The Zimbabwean leaders declined to comment.

Mr. Tsvangirai had accused Mr. Mugabe of breaking their power sharing accord by appointing allies to provincial governorships and other senior positions with consulting him.

Mr. Mugabe said there would be no further talks until Mr. Tsvangirai fulfilled his pledge to persuade Western governments to life sanctions against him and senior leaders of his ZANU-PF party.

Mr. Mugabe has said the unity government would come to an end in February, on its second anniversary, and the country would hold new elections next year.

But Mr. Tsvangirai said the unity government does not have a deadline and the power-sharing accord says elections can only be held after a new constitution is drafted and voted in a referendum.

Popular consultations on a new charter have been held and experts are due to begin drafting the document, but this step reportedly has been delayed by a lack of funds.

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