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Zuma, Zimbabwe Leaders Meet to Move Unity Government Forward

South African President Jacob Zuma, representing the Southern African Development Community has had separate meetings in Harare with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Mr. Zuma plans a joint meeting with them later.

The two main signatories to Zimbabwe's political agreement of September 2008 have told Mr. Zuma they favor fresh elections unless the unity government makes speedier progress.

The third signatory to the agreement, MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara, is opposed to fresh elections, according to well placed political sources in Harare. His faction says the outstanding issues of the political agreement should be resolved by further inter-party negotiations.

Various Western diplomats in Harare have also recently expressed opinions the only way to move Zimbabwe forward is elections.

Political sources close to Mr. Tsvangirai say he has presented Mr. Zuma with a plan to move forward, including fresh elections, if outstanding issues of the political agreement are not settled.

Mr. Mugabe was in a cheerful mood after his meeting with Mr. Zuma.

"The meeting, very well as usual," he said.

Many political observers say Mr. Mugabe's Zanu PF Party appears to have found increased confidence in recent weeks.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai says among the most important outstanding issues is appointments of senior civil servants loyal to Zanu PF and what he calls selective prosecution in the courts of mainly his party supporters

University of Zimbabwe Political Scientist Eldred Masunungure says Zanu PF proceeds within the unity government in a 'unilateralist' way and has little regard for the political agreement.

Mr. Mugabe and his Zanu PF hierarchy say they will make no more concessions until Western financial and travel restrictions are lifted against the party's leaders and their companies.

SADC guaranteed the political agreement that led to formation of a transitional unity government.