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World

Zimbabwe Talks Not Over, Just Resting, Mbeki Says

South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki says power-sharing talks in Zimbabwe are on pause to allow opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai time to reflect.

THabo Mbeki, left, and Robert Mugabe, right

Mbeki, left, came to Zimbabwe to mediate talks with Mugabe, right

There was confusion late on Tuesday over whether the talks had collapsed, after reports emerged that President Robert Mugabe had cut a deal with a break-away faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, which would have excluded Tsvangirai from power.

Tsvangirai's chief negotiator, Tendai Biti, denied that talks had collapsed, and said they would resume later on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008.

Tsvangirai takes 'time to reflect'

The negotiations between the ruling ZANU-PF and opposition MDC aim to end Zimbabwe's post-election crisis and deal with the country's economic catastrophe.

South African President Mbeki is mediating the talks. His comment came early Wednesday morning. Mbeki said he was "not aware" that Arthur Mutambara, leader of a splinter faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, had signed an accord with Mugabe.

He said main opposition leader, Tsvangirai, has asked for "more time to reflect about this matter, which the other two negotiators have agreed."

'Disagreement with one element'

Mbeki, who is mediating in the talks, told reporters Mugabe and Tsvangirai disagree on who will run the country.

"The point at which we are now is that we have dealt with all the critical elements on which President Mugabe and Mutambara agree, but there's disagreement with one element," Mbeki told Reuters news service.

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