The sources said this week that the parties have agreed on 15 items out of an expanded list of issues tabled when the parties resumed talks after the SADC Troika meeting held in Maputo last month.

“They have agreed on most of the issues and have presented a progress report to the three principals and now await direction on how to proceed on the remaining issues,” said the source.

Among the crucial issues that have been agreed are media reform, pirate radio stations, audit of the land reform programme among others. The parties are however still deadlocked on the issue of sanctions, appointment of Attorney General, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, provincial governors, Roy Bennett and security sector reform.

The MDC party led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai is said to have declared a deadlock on these outstanding issues and want them referred to SADC for a determination. But President Robert Mugabe is insisting that the talks be given more time. He met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Deputy Arthur Mutambara met on Monday and agreed to give the negotiators more time to thrush out a workable deal before declaring a deadlock.

The negotiators are now set to resume the final talks on Friday. On the other hand the three principals have agreed to make an announcement on what has been agreed next week upon Mugabe’s return from Copenhagen where he went to attend the ongoing climate change talks.

“The MDC wanted the negotiators to declare a deadlock and have the matter referred to SADC but Mugabe is said to have asked his colleagues to give the talks more time,” said the source.

At his party’s just ended congress Mugabe asked the SADC appointed mediator, Jacob Zuma, to be patient insisting that any issues agreed in the ongoing power-sharing negotiations would only be implemented when MDC calls for the lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his loyalists.

When approached for a comment one of the negotiators, Welshman Ncube, of the MDC party led by Mutambara said he an not talk about the deliberations ofeh talks but said, "We are still negotiating and we have  no timetable."

SADC Troika last month asked Zimbabwe’s political leaders to engage in dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues in the implementation of last year’s power-sharing agreement or global political agreement (GPA).

Some of the outstanding issues include Mugabe’s refusal to rescind his unilateral appointment of two of his top allies to head Zimbabwe’s central bank and the attorney general’s office.

Mugabe has also refused to swear in Tsvangirai ally Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister while the Prime Minister’s MDC-T party is also unhappy by what it says is selective application of the law to target its activists and officials.

On the other hand ZANU PF, which insists that it has met all its obligations under the GPA, accuses the MDC-T of not living up to a promise to lead a campaign for lifting of Western sanctions against Mugabe and members of his inner circle. (The Zimbabwean)