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Zimbabwe's ruling party and the opposition are close to a power-sharing deal that would turn Robert Mugabe into a ceremonial president.
The South African report yesterday came as Zimbabwean media reported Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change had agreed to expand their negotiating teams in a move the ruling party called a "good omen".
The report cited unnamed sources close to negotiations as saying the agreement would make MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai prime minister.
Zimbabwean government and MDC officials were not immediately available for comment.
"They are down to detail now," one source was quoted as saying, "although how long that will take is still unclear. But a deal is not far off. Not at all."
Zanu-PF began power-sharing talks with the MDC two weeks ago in South Africa after Mugabe was re-elected in a widely condemned poll boycotted by the opposition.
The two sides are under heavy international pressure, including from within Africa, to resolve a crisis that has ruined the once prosperous economy.
The opposition says only Tsvangirai can lead a new government because he won a first-round presidential vote in March - before pulling out of the June 27 run-off because of violence against his supporters.
Zanu-PF has said it will not accept any deal that fails to recognise Mugabe's re-election.
Zimbabwe's official newspaper, the Herald, reported yesterday that Zanu-PF and the MDC had agreed to expand their negotiating teams after the parties adjourned last week - before resuming talks in South Africa on Sunday.
They had originally set themselves a deadline of Monday to reach a deal, but both sides have said the timeline is flexible.
Commenting on the extension of the talks, Christopher Mutsvangwa, of Zanu-PF's information committee, said: "That shows progress. The extension is aimed at overcoming all the issues . the omen is very good."
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer John Makumbe had a cautious interpretation of the expansion of the negotiating teams. "If a breakthrough is near, it might not necessarily be because more people are now involved. If anything, I think the more the people, the more difficult it might be to reach an agreement."
President Thabo Mbeki has been mediating between the rival parties since last year. - Reuters