Mbeki launches fresh bid to end Zimbabwe political impasse

HARARE – South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating in Zimbabwe's power-sharing talks, will meet with the country's political parties in Harare on Monday in his latest bid to end the country's political turmoil.

South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said Mbeki will meet leaders of Zimbabwe’s negotiating parties.

Zimbabwean opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Sunday his party would rather quit power-sharing talks than sign an unsatisfactory deal and challenged President Robert Mugabe to call a new election to end the stalemate.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in a March 29 election but fell short of enough votes to avoid a June run-off, which was won by Mugabe unopposed after Tsvangirai pulled out, citing violence and intimidation against his supporters.

The post-election talks are deadlocked over how to share executive power between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, putting off any chance of rescuing Zimbabwe from its economic collapse.

Mugabe has said he will form a cabinet with or without Tsvangirai.

Mbeki, mandated by regional countries to mediate in the Zimbabwe talks, has come under repeated fire for not being tough enough with Mugabe.

Other southern African leaders have taken a hard line against Mugabe, but he has refused to budge, and the MDC has made it clear it has little faith in Mbeki as a mediator.

Tsvangirai told a rally on Sunday marking the Movement for Democratic Change’s ninth anniversary that he would not change his position in the power-sharing talks if pressured by Mbeki. Reuters