Zim rivals keen on ‘finding lasting solution’

2010-03-18 12:17

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s first day of talks with Zimbabwe’s rival leaders was “encouraging”, his spokesperson said today ahead of further discussions on the fragile unity government.

Spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said that the talks yesterday were “quite encouraging, in the sense that President Zuma got an impression that parties were as keen as we are to move things forward”.

“There was commitment all round to work harder in finding a lasting solution,” Magwenya said.

Zuma, the regional mediator on Zimbabwe, held one-on-one talks yesterday with long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai – who formed a unity government one year ago.

The South African leader also met with Zimbabwe attorney-general Johannes Tomana and central bank governor Gideon Gono, whose appointments are contested by Tsvangirai.

Zuma met late yesterday with Roy Bennett, the treasurer of Tsvangirai’s party who is on trial for treason over a plot against Mugabe that has already been dismissed by the courts in an earlier case.

“The idea behind those meetings is that President Zuma’s intention was to meet a wide range of key role-players to create common understanding on how to take matters forward,” Magwenya said.

Zuma was set to hold joint talks with Mugabe and Tsvangirai today. Their negotiators are due to produce a report on the meetings by the end of March.

The unity government was formed in February last year under stiff international pressure, aiming to end an economic freefall and curb deadly political violence after disputed presidential elections in 2008.

Their political feuding has stalled efforts to draft a new constitution, as required under the power-sharing deal, to pave the way toward to fresh elections. 

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