November 3, 2008

SA to host SADC summit on Zimbabwe

South Africa is set to host an extraordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to discuss northern neighbour Zimbabwe’s political impasse, diplomatic sources said. The regional summit – planned for Sunday, November 9 – comes after the 15-member bloc’s security Troika failed last week to pressure President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to reach agreement on the composition of a new power-sharing government. South African President and current chairman of SADC Kgalema Motlanthe will chair the extraordinary summit.

The diplomat who is privy to the Zimbabwe power-sharing negotiations also said that prospects of the deal being reached before year-end were good. "We do not want this issue to be taken to the UN (United Nations), this is an African problem and we do not want it to go out of the region. We do not even want the African Union to have anything to do with it."

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and another opposition leader Arthur Mutambara agreed to form an all-inclusive government under a September 15 power-sharing deal that retains Mugabe as president while making Tsvangirai prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister. Analysts see such a power-sharing government as the first step to ending decade-long food shortages and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. But six weeks after agreeing to share power political leaders are yet to form a unity government because they cannot agree on who should control the most powerful ministries. (ZWNews)

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