Zuma to meet feuding Zimbabwe leaders

GABORONE – South African President Jacob Zuma is expected to meet leaders in Zimbabwe's unity government next week for further talks on settling their disputes over power sharing, a Southern African Development Community official said on Saturday.

President Robert Mugabe was been forced to share power with his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and a small third party since last year after disputed 2008 elections, but the government has been hobbled by feuds.

SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salamao told reporters that Zuma was expected to go to Harare by the end of next week to continue with his mediation efforts.

SADC leaders failed to discuss in detail the tensions in Zimbabwe at a summit on Saturday after Zambian President Rupiah Banda — who is chairman of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security — failed to attend the meeting held in Botswana.

"After the Troika summit failed to take place, it was agreed that President Zuma should go to Harare again where he would hold talks with the three parties in the (political agreement)," Salamao said. "After that he would be expected to make a recommendation to the chairperson Rupiah Banda on the next date for another Troika summit."

Although the Zimbabwe government has stabilised the country’s economy, Mugabe and Tsvangirai have frequently clashed over the pace of political reforms and Western sanctions imposed on the veteran ruler and his inner circle.

Mugabe said last month the power-sharing government would expire in February and should not be extended, leading to new elections by mid-2011.