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Zimbabwe leadership talks at crucial stage -

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Zimbabwe leadership talks at crucial stage

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:34:00

Reporter: Sara Everingham

ELEANOR HALL: Power sharing talks between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai are due to resume in Harare today. The leaders have been discussing a way out of
the political crisis in the country which erupted into violence over the disputed elections earlier
this year.

It's been reported that President Mugabe appears confident of reaching a deal but that there are
disagreements over just how much power he will have to relinquish.

Sara Everingham reports.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The talks were due to finish on Sunday night but they continued yesterday and by
late last night there was still no sign of a deal. At the end of discussions yesterday the leader
of the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change Morgan Tsvangirai wouldn't comment on any
progress.

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Negotiations will resume tomorrow and we'll advise on the position as we make
progress.

SARA EVERINGHAM: South African President Thabo Mbeki is mediating the talks which are aimed at
reaching a power sharing deal after this year's disputed elections. It's been reported that
President Robert Mugabe is upbeat about the talks. He says there have been some little hurdles but
that the sticking points can be overcome.

It's hard to imagine though how Zimbabwe's political foes can come to an arrangement. It's
understood new obstacles have emerged in the discussions mainly around how much power Robert Mugabe
and his ruling Zanu-PF party will have to relinquish in the deal.

It was back in July that President Robert Mugabe and the opposition's Morgan Tsvangirai signed a
deal to begin the power sharing negotiations. It's reported that yesterday bouquets of flowers and
chairs were delivered to the same hotel where that deal was signed in preparation for a ceremony.

But the flowers might be a premature gesture. Yesterday President Robert Mugabe was cheered as he
spoke to hundreds of people at a rally for Hero's Day, honouring those who died in Zimbabwe's war
of liberation. He used the occasion to blame the west for undermining Zimbabwe's progress.

ROBERT MUGABE: It is regrettable that our detractors continue to impose more sanctions on us. These
sanctions effectively undermine the rapprochement which should otherwise be cemented through the
inter-party dialogue.

SARA EVERINGHAM: He also fired a warning to the MDC that the country is not for sale, in the past
Robert Mugabe has described Morgan Tsvangirai as a "stooge" of western governments. Zimbabwe expert
Dr Tanya Lyons from Flinders University is one observer who doesn't believe the two rivals can
reach a deal.

TANYA LYONS: There two parties at opposite ends of the scale are, they loathe each other, the
leaders loathe each other, the supporters loathe each other. The people behind Zanu PF, Mugabe's
ruling party, the military are not going to allow a you know any democracy to go forward that has
the Movement for Democratic Change and Morgan Tsvangirai, as a significant leader in the country.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Still some see the negotiations as the best chance to end not only Zimbabwe's
political crisis but also its economic one. Dr Tanya Lyons says whoever it is that forms government
they'll have a job on their hands.

TANYA LYONS: If Mugabe goes back and continues to rein the country the way he has then the
international community, the African Union, the Southern African development community really needs
to put pressure on him to fix things up in his country because the people are absolutely suffering
and they're suffering so much that they're not going to rise up and get out on the streets and have
a revolution against the way the system is working because they're simply too exhausted and too
down trodden.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Zimbabwe analyst Dr Tanya Lyons from Flinders University ending Sara
Everingham's report.