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Zimbabwe leaders to sign MoU under Mbeki

by Bathandwa Mbola
on 21 Jul 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) facilitated by President Thabo Mbeki on the country's political crisis.

The South African Department of Foreign Affairs said the signing ceremony will take place on Monday at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare at 3pm.

The MoU established, outlines the agenda and terms for the talks, framework of the new government, timeframe, and composition of the negotiating teams.

The first draft of the MoU was drawn up by the three negotiating teams under the chairmanship of Mr Mbeki's facilitators and his envoys which include Frank Chikane, Mujanku Gumbi and Sydney Mufamadi.

"The memorandum represents a positive step forward in the ongoing dialogue among the parties as facilitated by President Mbeki acting on behalf of South African Development Community [SADC]," said the department.

The agreement was due to be signed last week but the, opposition, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai refused to put his name to a framework deal that might bring about some kind of power-sharing deal.

This after the two sides are locked in a dispute over 27 June presidential re-election in a one-man poll - which has been widely critised the international community.

The leader of the opposition boycotted the run-off following a wave of deadly attacks on his supporters. He beat Mr Mugabe into second place in the first round of voting in March does not recognise his rival's re-election.

President Mbeki was tasked more than a year ago by the 14-nation SADC to mediate and facilitate in Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.

In his efforts to try finding a lasting solution to Zimbabwe's crisis, Mr Mbeki has among other things recently invited the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) to form a reference group that will liaise with SADC.

This was announced after a Friday's meeting between AU Commission Chief Jean Ping, UN envoy Haile Menkerioat and SADC representative - Angolan Deputy Foreign Minister George Chikoti and President Mbeki at the Presidential Guest house.

After the meeting, all parties agreed with the framework proposed by President Mbeki to facilitate a solution to the challenges in Zimbabwe.

In line with the 11th Ordinary Session of the AU Summit resolution on Zimbabwe, the parties further endorsed President Mbeki as the mediator in Zimbabwe and pledged to support his efforts. - BuaNews

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