Thursday, October 16, 2008

Zimbabwe rivals to restart talks with progress in sight


Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai entered a third day of talks Thursday to break an impasse on disputed cabinet posts with hopes rising they could reach a deal.
Former South African leader Thabo Mbeki is presiding over discussions aimed at pressing Mugabe and Tsvangirai to settle their differences under a faltering power-sharing deal meant to rescue Zimbabwe from economic and political chaos.
"We made some progress. We finish tomorrow," Mugabe told reporters as he left the negotiations on Wednesday.
Tsvangirai said the talks had proceeded "quite circuitously," but his chief negotiator Tendai Biti insisted progress had been made in the seven hours of talks Wednesday.
"History is being made. Mountains are being moved. If we pray hard today something will happen tomorrow," Biti told reporters.
South African media citing unnamed sources reported Thursday that Tsvangirai had been awarded the finance ministry, a critical portfolio in a country grappling with the world's highest inflation rate, last estimated at 231 million percent.
This left in limbo the home affairs ministry which oversees the country's police forces -- accused by the opposition of being used by the ruling party to carry out human rights abuses.

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