After marathon talks Thabo Mbeki (photo), the South African president, left Zimbabwe, where he failed to secure a power-sharing deal between the country’s main rivals. Mr Mbeki added that he had doubts about an agreement to be reach.
On Wednesday, talks on Zimbabwe’s political crisis broke up, in order to allow “time to consider” the situation to Morgan Tsvangirai, the main opposition leader, sources said.
During this time, South African president headed to Angola, where he met president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, head of the political department of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). He is worried about the impact of a possible political “meltdown” in Zimbabwe.
During Mr Mbeki’s absence, a Ruling Zanu PF party official claimed that a deal had been reached between Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, and a smaller opposition faction, excluding Morgan Tsvangirai.
But Thabo Mbeki, after mediating three days of talks between the rivals in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, said he knew of no deal being signed, before adding that he remained confident all three sides could find an agreement.
“We have dealt with all the elements on which president Mugabe and Mutambara agree, but there is disagreement on one element over which Morgan Tsvangirai had asked for time to reflect”, Mr Mbeki said.
“We have adjourned to give Morgan Tsvangirai more time to consider these matters.”
“I’m quite confident they will resolve all their outstanding matters which would result in this inclusive government and, in the second instance, then acting together”, Mr Mbeki told reporters.
“No deal has been signed by anyone. Dialogue is still continuing”, emphasised Welshman Ncube, secretary general for Mr Mutambara’s faction.
On Wednesday, South African president met his Angolan counterpart in Luanda, reported Angolan state radio. He was expected to return to South Africa afterwards, ahead of a summit of regional leaders this weekend.
Adding “after that we are going back home”, Mukoni Ratshitanga, a spokesman for Thabo Mbeki, said that he was to give a report to the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The SADC, a 14-nation regional bloc, has appointed Mr Mbeki mediator for the Zimbabwe crisis. Over the weekend, he had arrived in Harare for negotiations between Mr Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mutambara.
“The talks are adjourned, not ended, but I wouldn’t say until when. Tsvangirai needs more time to consult”, Thabo Mbeki’s spokesman told the AFP news agency.
“I wouldn’t know about it. We are facilitating discussions among three parties”, answered Mr Mbeki earlier, when he was asked whether signatures had been put to a deal.
Negotiations included proposals for Robert Mugabe to take on a more ceremonial role, in exchange for amnesty from prosecution, while Morgan Tsvangirai would be made executive prime minister.