South Africa leader urges MDC to attend talks

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African President Kgalema Motlanthe on Friday urged Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai not to boycott talks on forming a cabinet and said only more dialogue would break an impasse.

"When you seek a solution to a problem, you talk to those that you disagree with," Motlanthe said on SABC radio. "You can’t make peace with your friends. You make peace with your enemies, your adversaries."

"…The niggling problems can only be addressed by following this process of dialogue."

Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC has said Tsvangirai could boycott next week’s regional summit in Harare aimed at rescuing a power-sharing deal, saying an election may be needed to break the deadlock over control of cabinet seats in a new government.

Tsvangirai, set to become prime minister, has accused President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF of trying to seize the lion’s share of important ministries under a power-sharing deal which was signed on September 15 but has since stalled.

Fed up with weeks of fruitless talks, the MDC leader snubbed an emergency Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Swaziland this week that was to address the issue, citing Harare’s refusal to give him a new passport.

The summit was rescheduled for October 27 in Harare. Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has been mediating talks but critics say he has been too soft on Mugabe and lacks leverage after he was ousted as president last month.

The power-sharing deal is seen as Zimbabwe’s best hope for halting a devastating economic meltdown marked by the world’s highest inflation and acute shortages of food and fuel.