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Zimbabwe's power-sharing talks adjourned

Reuters
Oct 16, 2008 at 01:13pm IST

Harare: Talks between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai aimed at rescuing a power-sharing deal ended without agreement on Tuesday (October 14) but resumed on Wednesday (October 15), Tsvangirai said.

The deal, brokered by formed South African President Thabo Mbeki last month, is in danger of collapse over disagreements about cabinet posts. MDC leader Tsvangirai threatened to pull out of the coalition at the weekend after Mugabe allocated key ministries to his ZANU-PF party.

Arthur Mutambara, who heads a splinter MDC faction and is also taking part in the talks, said Tuesday's session was "very productive". He earlier expressed frustration over the stalled deal, which analysts say is Zimbabwe's best hope for halting a devastating economic crisis.

ZIMBABWE CRISIS: A new government will have to tackle the world's highest inflation rate.

Justice Minister and ZANU-PF's chief negotiator in the power-sharing talks, Patrick Chinamasa, earlier told the state-run Herald newspaper he hoped Mbeki could offer new ideas.

Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a March presidential poll held concurrently. But he did not have enough ballots to avoid a June run-off poll, which was won by Mugabe and condemned around the world after it was boycotted by Tsvangirai.

Analysts say that although the talks look doomed, the rivals are under pressure to reach a settlement, although some say Mbeki will have less leverage in Zimbabwe after being ousted as South African president by his own party last month.

A new government will have to tackle the world's highest inflation rate of 231 million per cent and severe food, fuel and foreign currency shortages.

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