Summit to salvage Zim unity deal

Regional leaders met Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and the opposition at a summit in South Africa yesterday to try to push them to implement a power-sharing deal.

Regional leaders met Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and the opposition at a summit in South Africa yesterday to try to push them to implement a power-sharing deal.

The agreement is seen as a chance to prevent an economic collapse that could put added strain on neighbours, which already host millions of Zimbabweans who fled in search of work and, more recently, to escape a cholera epidemic.

Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the opposition MDC, signed the agreement in September but have failed to agree on control of cabinet posts, with neither side showing any sign of compromise.

"Questions concerning Zimbabwe are continuously being raised in capitals and streets of Africa, with the expectation that the Zimbabwean leadership of all persuasions, under the aegis of SADC, will resolutely resolve the impasse with decisiveness and statesmanship," President Kgalema Motlanthe told the summit.

"I trust that we will not fail them."

Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party have urged the opposition to join a unity government but say they will not hesitate to form one without them.

Mugabe is expected to seek approval from regional leaders at the summit in Pretoria to form a government alone if need be.

Western leaders want Mugabe to step down and are pushing for a democratic government to embrace economic reforms before billions of dollars in aid is offered. - Reuters

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