Zimbabwe negotiations advancing ‘very well’: Mbeki

July 29th, 2008 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, July 29 (DPA) South African President Thabo Mbeki said Tuesday that talks between Zimbabwe’s political parties taking place in his country were “doing very well”, despite the negotiations hitting an impasse on the issue of who should lead Zimbabwe. Mbeki was appointed last year by the 14-country Southern African Development Community as mediator in Zimbabwe.

He was speaking in Pretoria a day after talks between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Morgan Tsvangirai on the formation of a unity government were abruptly suspended.

Mbeki said the talks, which also include a breakaway MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara, would be “adjourned for a few days to allow the leaders of the MDC and Zanu-PF to return to Harare and consult with their parties”.

But the talks were “doing very well,” he told a media briefing in a characteristically positive assessment of the Zimbabwe situation, following talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The three parties were still committed to concluding the talks within the given two-week deadline, Mbeki said.

MDC sources say the talks came to a halt over Tsvangirai’s position in the proposed unity government. They say Zanu-PF negotiators asked for timeout to consult with Mugabe after their offer to make Tsvangirai a third vice-president was rejected by the MDC.

The talks are scheduled to end Aug 4.

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