MDC sends SOS to SADC

HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday that power-sharing talks with President Robert Mugabe's government are deadlocked and that regional mediators are to intervene.

HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday that power-sharing talks with President Robert Mugabe's government are deadlocked and that regional mediators are to intervene.

"We have declared a deadlock and therefore the process cannot move forward except in the presence of the facilitator," he said.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki was the facilitator who brokered the deal under which the longtime political rivals are to form a joint unity government.

"We have informed the facilitator and he has responded.

"He has said he will come over," Tsvangirai said.

Mbeki's spokesman in South Africa was not immediately available for comment, and Tsvangirai did not mention him by name.

Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a first round of voting in March, but pulled out of a June run-off, citing deadly violence against his supporters. The two men, along with a breakaway leader from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), signed a power-sharing deal on September 15. Under the agreement, 84-year-old Mugabe remains as president while Tsvangirai takes the new post of prime minister.

But efforts to form the government have bogged down over disputes about who will control the most important ministries, such as defence, home affairs and finance.

Although Mbeki was forced by his own party to resign as president last month, South Africa's new leadership - along with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) - have backed his continued role as mediator.

Tsvangirai said he still hoped to find a solution with the help of a mediator.

"We have communicated this position to SADC and the AU as well as to the facilitator, and have confidence that our African brothers will do everything to ensure this issue is resolved with speed," Tsvangirai said.

"We as Zimbabweans owe it to our African counterparts to ensure we spare no effort in resolving the issues.

"We look forward to working with SADC, the AU and the facilitator to find a solution," he said. - Sapa-AFP

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