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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Zuma appeals to Zimbabwe rivals

President Robert Mugabe and South Africa's President Jacob Zuma
President Robert Mugabe and South Africa's President Jacob Zuma
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has urged Zimbabwe's political rivals to work together if they are to see foreign aid restored.

He said the power-sharing government must fully implement its agreement to "create confidence".

He was speaking after holding talks with President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Harare.

Mr Tsvangirai's MDC party accuses Mr Mugabe of acting in bad faith and donors remain dubious.

The former opposition Movement for Democratic Change says its activists continue to be harassed even after it joined the government in February.

It also complains that it has not been consulted about key appointments, including the central bank governor and the attorney-general.

"The inclusive government has the responsibility to fully implement the global political agreement and thus create confidence in the process," Mr Zuma said at a speech at the Harare Agricultural Show.

"The important factor is that there is commitment amongst all parties which will make movement forward possible."

Mr Mugabe's long-time rival embarked on a tour of western capitals in June seeking a resumption of aid.

But most donors are reluctant to resume funding to Zimbabwe in case the money helps Mr Mugabe, who they accuse of human rights abuses and destroying the once promising economy.

The MDC wanted Mr Zuma to put pressure on Mr Mugabe to rein in his hardline supporters, especially in the security forces, who it says are trying to derail the unity accord.

Mugabe 'healthy'

Mr Zuma is the current chair of the Southern African Development Community, the body which helped to broker the power-sharing deal.

At a state banquet hosted by President Mugabe on Thursday night, Mr Zuma said the problems were not "insurmountable".

"The most difficult path has already been travelled."

Mr Mugabe said "teething problems" were inevitable but had "not detracted us from our agreed common vision to establish peace, turn around the economy and work to deliver the services expected of us by the generality of our people".

Zimbabwean journalist Brian Hungwe says Mr Mugabe, 85, appeared healthy.

Zimbabwe officials have denied recent press reports that Mr Mugabe was ill, labelling them the product of "sick and evil minds".

A spokesman for Mr Zuma's African National Congress party said he had planned to be more outspoken about Zimbabwe's problems - a contrast to the "quiet diplomacy" of his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.

"President Zuma will be more vocal in terms of what we see as deviant behaviour," Gwede Mantashe told reporters.

Source: BBC

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