Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says talks to resolve the issues facing the country's national unity government will wrap up before a deadline set by the South African Development Community.
Prime minister Tsvangirai made the pronouncement at a rally in the capital attended by thousands to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Movement for Democratic Change party. Speaking in English and Shona, he said meetings between his party and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and a breakaway faction of the MDC are taking place. "Not to negotiate, but to define the framework of and the timelines within the time limit set by the SADC troika," he said.
Last month, Mr. Tsvangirai partially withdrew from the national unity government. He cited non-fulfillment of the deal that brought about the unity government by President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) a guarantor of the so-called Global Political Agreement that led to formation of the unity government, convened a summit in Maputo on November 5th. The summit directed the parties to the unity government to fully implement the agreement within 15 days, failing which South Africa's President Jacob Zuma would come to Harare to engage the parties and have a solution in place in another 15 days. Mr. Tsvangirai and his party suspended their boycott following the summit.
But the parties only met after the 15 day deadline had expired. President Zuma did not come to Harare, but appointed a three-person mediation team expected to hold talks in Harare this week. Prime Minister Tsvangirai did not shed light on the progress the parties have made toward resolving the outstanding issues.
Mr. Tsvangirai paid tribute to SADC and the African Union, also a guarantor of the agreement. Earlier this month, he met with Libyan President Muammar Gadaffi the current chairman of the African Union.