Talks raise hopes for unity

Intense negotiations were under way in Zimbabwe yesterday on the details of a power-sharing deal aimed at ending the country's political and economic woes.

Intense negotiations were under way in Zimbabwe yesterday on the details of a power-sharing deal aimed at ending the country's political and economic woes.

President Thabo Mbeki was mediating talks between President Robert Mugabe, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the leader of a smaller MDC faction, Arthur Mutambara, on the proposed government of national unity.

After more than four hours of discussions in a hotel in Harare, the leaders had yet to emerge to announce a pact.

The venue for yesterday's talks was the Rainbow Towers hotel, where Mugabe and Tsvangirai met face-to-face for the first time in 10 years on July 21, also under Mbeki's stewardship.

Mbeki, the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) mediator in Zimbabwe, is thought to be anxious to clinch a deal to show off at a SADC summit in South Africa next week when he assumes the chairmanship of the body.

Mbeki held one-on-one talks during the night with Mugabe and also held private talks with Tsvangirai and his chief negotiator Tendai Biti.

The three parties have been holding talks on a unity government since July 24 in South Africa. - Sapa-DPA

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