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Summit fails to solve Zimbabwe crisis -

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ELEANOR HALL: Despite the efforts of more than a dozen Southern African leaders, there's no end in
sight to the political crisis engulfing Zimbabwe.

After a weekend of negotiations, the talks on power-sharing have stalled and no deadline has been
set for reaching an agreement.

But the head of the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change says negotiations must continue and
that failure is not an option.

Emily Bourke has our report.

EMILY BOURKE: The negotiation skills of 13 leaders from Southern African nations were put to the
test over the weekend with a summit in Johannesburg aimed at bringing an end to the political
stalemate that persists in Zimbabwe.

The leaders had hoped to reach a breakthrough that would see a power-sharing arrangement between
the ruling Zanu-PF and Opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Both President Robert Mugabe and Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai attended the summit, where
South African President Thabo Mbeki raised the possibility of a deal before the gathering ended.

THABO MBEKI: We have a good basis for a global agreement among Zimbabwe parties. In that context,
therefore, I appeal to the parties, Zimbabwe parties, to sign any outstanding agreements and to
conclude the negotiations therefore as a matter of urgency.

EMILY BOURKE: While a troika of Southern African leaders want the two political rivals to reach
agreement quickly, no deadline has been imposed.

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has warned the solution cannot be forced on Zimbabwe from
countries outside.

THABO MBEKI: Lets really allow the people of Zimbabwe to determine their future. It is critically
important because any solution that is imposed from outside won't last unless it is a common
product that is owned by this entire collective of the nation of Zimbabwe.

EMILY BOURKE: While the mediation goes on, officials close to the talks say there's a fundamental
disagreement over who will have effective control of the government.

But the MDC's Secretary General Tendai Biti remains optimistic a deal can be struck.

TENDAI BITI: Failure is not an option in this time. Our people are suffering, inflation is over
nine million per cent. Life expectancy is 34.

But it is critical that we conclude this dialogue as a matter of urgency. So we as the leaders of
the Movement for Democratic Change will remain committed to this time and we trust that there will
be provision on the same, very soon.

EMILY BOURKE: But there are fears without resolving that crucial sticking point of what authority
the President and Prime Minister would have under a National Unity Government, the entire
power-sharing deal may unravel completely.

Charles Matope is from the Australian chapter of the Movement for Democratic Change.

CHARLES MATOPE: Personally if the MDC instead of a win, we are actually worried that these talks
are not progressing as we thought.

I am very, very scared to look at, into the crystal ball of Zimbabwe's future. If these talks do
not succeed, the future is too ghastly for us to contemplate.

EMILY BOURKE: So you are not that optimistic?

CHARLES MATOPE: At the moment, the picture is not really that optimistic with Mugabe trying to hold
onto as much power as possible.

But there is little hope within the party that SADC (Southern African Development Community) and
all the organs that are involved in pushing this negotiations forward will find a solution.

EMILY BOURKE: Who do you think will lead to compromise?

CHARLES MATOPE: We've actually done a lot of compromising. We have actually agreed to let Mugabe
continue as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces whilst we take the executive Prime
Ministership.

So that is quite a big compromise and the ball is now in the court of Zanu-PF which is the party of
Robert Mugabe to also make a compromise.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Charles Matope from the Australian branch of the MDC ending Emily Bourke's
report.