Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Talks now postponed for one week

MBABANE – (AFP) The controversial talks on power-sharing in Zimbabwe have been postponed by a week and moved back to Harare, an official said Monday after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai refused to attend a summit of southern African heads.
“Tsvangirai was supposed to attend, but due to technical problems, which have occurred from his side, he was not able to come. That’s why the meeting is taking place in Harare,” Swazi King Mswati III told journalists.
Tsvangirai had been due to meet in Swaziland ’s capital Mbabane with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) rival Arthur Mutambara and four regional heads of state to break a five-week deadlock over forming a unity government.
But Tsvangirai’s MDC faction said Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister-designate had only received emergency travel papers late Sunday, calling the delay an “insult” to the man meant to assume such high office under the unity accord.
SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao said, reading from a statement, a meeting would be held in Harare on October 27 to “review the progress on the implementation of the September 15 agreement.”
The conflict over Tsvangirai’s travel documents was the latest twist in the five-week battle over the unity accord.
Talks broke down over who should control powerful ministries - particularly Home Affairs, which oversees the police force.
Regional mediator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, facilitated four long days of talks between the political rivals in Harare last week.
After failing to break the impasse, they had agreed to turn to the South African Development Community’s security body - currently headed by Swaziland - to find a solution.
On the question of whether the Zimbabwe deal will ever be a success, Mswati said: “We still maintain the spirit that African problems can be solved by Africans.”

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