But the 15-nation Southern African Development Community said opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai did not agree with their call for his MDC party to co-manage Zimbabwe’s disputed home affairs ministry with the ruling ZANU-PF.
Tsvangirai said he was "shocked and saddened" by the outcome of the summit, which brought together leaders and ministers of SADC countries for over 12 hours of talks on Zimbabwe’s political impasse and the violence in eastern Congo.
"We need to form an inclusive government, today or tomorrow," SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salamao told reporters late on Sunday night after the summit in South Africa.
"…SADC was asked to rule and SADC took a decision and that’s the position of SADC. Now it’s up to the parties to implement," he said.
Earlier on Sunday, Tsvangirai asked the summit to set a deadline for a deal on forming a cabinet.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, appeared optimistic that an agreement could be reached but Tsvangirai warned of regional instability if the ruling party refused to loosen what he called its illegitimate grip on power.
The old foes have been deadlocked over allocation of important cabinet positions since the Sept. 15 deal, which Zimbabweans hoped would produce a united leadership to revive the ruined economy in the country where inflation is the world’s highest and food and fuel shortages widespread.
Highlighting growing regional impatience, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said the deal offered the only hope for Zimbabwe to ease the economic crisis.
Past SADC meetings have failed to produce a breakthrough.
Although some leaders have taken a tough line on Mugabe, political analysts say the SADC did not have the resolve to impose tough measures, such as sanctions, to force an agreement.
The heads of state of Botswana and Zambia, the most outspoken regional critics of Mugabe, did not attend the summit.