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Mugabe, Tsvangirai enter 3rd day of talks

Latest update : 2008-08-12

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai continued power-sharing talks, after two days of stalemate. Talks have so far stalled on the key question of who is to wield final executive power.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrived on Tuesday for a third day of power-sharing talks aimed at ending the country's protracted political crisis.

Mugabe made no comment as he entered the central Harare hotel where the talks mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki were being held.

Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, the head of a smaller opposition faction, had arrived about 30 minutes earlier and also refused comment.

Asked whether he was optimistic talks could conclude on Tuesday, Welshman Ncube, secretary general for Mutambara's faction, said: "I don't know, but we just pray."

The meetings follow hours of talks held over the previous two days that failed to reach an agreement to share power after Mugabe's widely condemned re-election in June.

Asked about sticking points as he left the hotel Monday evening, the 84-year-old president said "they will be overcome".

Tsvangirai boycotted the June 27 presidential run-off despite finishing ahead of Mugabe in the March first round, citing rising violence against his supporters.

Pressure has built for Zimbabwe's rivals to reach a power-sharing deal, with Mbeki planning to fly back to South Africa later Tuesday ahead of a summit of regional leaders this weekend.

South Africa's deputy foreign minister said Tuesday that Zimbabwe's rival parties should push on with talks even if Mugabe and the opposition fail to clinch a power-sharing deal in the negotiations.

Date created : 2008-08-12