South African President Thabo Mbeki met in Zimbabwe with President
Robert Mugabe to discuss the stalled negotiations aimed at ending the
country's political crisis. He says the talks are to resume Sunday.
VOA's Delia Robertson reports from our southern Africa bureau in
Following his meeting with Mr. Mugabe, the South
African president repeated his earlier assurances that negotiations
between Zimbabwe's political parties are going well. On Tuesday he
said the talks were merely adjourned.
"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," President Mbeki said. "But they are proceeding."
President Mbeki is
evidently more concerned about progress in the talks than he concedes
in public. Before flying to Harare, he met in Pretoria with the MDC's
The talks stalled earlier this week after Mr.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF negotiating team offered Tsvangirai a vice presidency
in a proposed government of national unity. It was rejected by the MDC
leader. Mr. Mugabe already has two vice presidents who are merely
figureheads without any executive authority.
at a monetary policy meeting in Harare, the Zimbabwean leader said he
is committed to achieving a negotiated outcome to the country's crisis.
committed ourselves to a process of dialogue under the facilitation of
President [of South Africa, Thabo] Mbeki, whom I expect today anyway,"
he said. "There is total commitment on the part of government and
ZANU-PF and I hope there is similar total, there is similar commitment
on the part of the other parties."
But analysts have warned that Mr.Mugabe is determined to hang on to executive power.
believes that he should head a transitional unity government because he
got most of the votes in the preliminary presidential race in May. His
majority in that poll was not enough to avoid a runoff.
have warned that in addition to convincing Mr. Mugabe of the need for
compromise, Mr. Mbeki will have to find a way of drawing in the security
forces, particularly the Joint Operations Command, widely believe to be
the real power in Zimbabwe. The Joint Operations Command is run by a
senior party official, the various military commanders, the chiefs of
police and prisons, and the country's senior intelligence official.