Negotiators suggest they are close to reaching a power sharing deal
between Zimbabwe's president and the leading opposition group.
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai both
attended the opening of a regional summit in South Africa Saturday
where they face rising pressure to conclude an agreement.
At least 2,000 demonstrators marched in Johannesburg to protest Mr. Mugabe.
Zimbabwe's protracted political crisis is high on the agenda for the 14-nation Southern African Development Community summit.
Sources close to the negotiations suggest an agreement is possible.
Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, who has been a mediator at power
sharing talks, told the Associated Press the factions are close to an
But an official with Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change, Tendai Biti, said the chances of an agreement before
the summit wraps up were "50-50."
Botswanan President Ian Khama is boycotting the meeting because of Mr. Mugabe's presence.
does not recognize Mr. Mugabe's election and the boycott highlights
increasing pressure from African nations on Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party
and opposition groups to reach an agreement.
Arthur Mutambara, leader of a second opposition group in Zimbabwe, is attending the meeting.
Earlier this week, three marathon sessions failed to produce a power sharing deal.
Mugabe was declared the winner of a June 27 runoff election that many
international observers dismissed as a sham. Opposition leader
Tsvangirai pulled out of the election, citing state-sponsored attacks
against his supporters.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.