- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: South Africa hosts regional summit on Zimbabwe crisis
- Date: 27th January 2009
- Summary: PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA (JANUARY 26, 2009) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF PRESIDENTIAL GUESTHOUSE POLICEMAN WAITING OUTSIDE MOTORCADE OF ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE MUGABE GETTING OUT OF CAR / SHAKES HANDS WITH SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT KGALEMA MOTLANTHE NAMIBIAN PRESIDENT NAMIBIA HIFIKEPUNYE POHAMBA MDC REPRESENTATIVE GRACE MUTANDWA ARRIVING PRIME MINISTER OF LESOTHO, PAKALITHA MOSISILI, ARRIVING
- Embargoed: 11th February 2009 12:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Reuters ID: LVA5HOV74X4W93QZYXHAZHZ612IV
- Story Text: Regional leaders meet Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition at a summit in South Africa to try to push them to implement a power-sharing deal that has been stalled for months.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe meets regional leaders at a summit in South Africa on Monday (January 26), seeking a nod to form a government with or without his rivals in a stance critics say will deepen his country's crisis.
Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have been deadlocked in talks to form a unity government since a power-sharing agreement in September, with neither side showing any sign of compromise.
Mugabe has urged the opposition to join a unity government but has made it clear he would not hesitate to name one without them. Tsvangirai has said no deal is possible unless party activists are released from jail.
The 15 state Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) summit hosted by South African President Kgalema Motlanthe hopes to break the impasse as Zimbabwe teeters on the brink of economic collapse and grapples with a humanitarian crisis.
Similar summits have failed to push the political process forward largely because SADC is divided over how it should deal with Mugabe, analysts say.
SADC members such as Botswana and Zambia have taken a tough line on Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, but others still revere him as a former liberation hero.
Botswana's President Seretse Khama Ian Khama, one of Mugabe's harshest critics, will also attend the summit. Ties between Zimbabwe and neighbouring Botswana became strained after Khama said a new election was the only solution to the crisis.
Regional leaders including SADC mediator and former South African President Thabo Mbeki failed last week to persuade the rivals to form a government.
Mugabe has accused the MDC of working with Western powers to oust him.
He has remained defiant through several rounds of talks that have stalled over the control of cabinet ministeries.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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