Mbeki Zimbabwe mediation to end soon – Swaziland

MBABANE – South African President Thabo Mbeki has told the king of Swaziland that he expects to end his latest mediation efforts in Zimbabwe by the end of this week, Swaziland's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Swaziland’s King Mswati III, chairperson of regional group SADC’s defence and security committee, had called for the committee to meet on Wednesday but the meeting was postponed to give Mbeki time to deliver a final report on his mediation, said Swaziland’s foreign minister, Mathendele Dlamini.

 

"The chairperson has been advised by the mediator that it will be better to wait for the final report," Dlamini told Reuters.

 

"President Mbeki has personally requested to finalise his mediation which he believes will happen before the end of this week. And then he promised to deliver his report."

 

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Tuesday they have made progress in power-sharing talks in Zimbabwe and are to address outstanding issues on Wednesday.

 

The SADC meeting was to include the heads of state from Mozambique, Angola and Swaziland. Mbeki and Mugabe had also been expected to attend.

 

South African Foreign Ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said earlier the summit would be held on Thursday in Swaziland. He did not give reasons for the delay.

 

But Dlamini said the time and location of the summit have not been determined, but suggested it could take place Sunday.

 

A deal to form an all-inclusive government would end two months of wrangling and help ease a post-election crisis that is worsening Zimbabwe’s economic decline.

 

A new round of talks began in Harare on Monday between Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, Tsvangirai’s MDC party and a breakaway MDC faction, but prospects had looked bleak.

 

But after several hours of meetings led by Mbeki on Tuesday, the rivals appeared hopeful a deal was in sight.

 

A senior Zimbabwe government official said on Tuesday the Swaziland summit may now be moved to Harare to celebrate the signing of a power-sharing deal. Reuters