Friday, June 10, 2011

Zimbabwe and South African Presidents Meet at Matsheamhlope

President, Zuma thrash out issues

Saturday, 11 June 2011 00:41
From Caesar Zvayi in JOHANNESBURG, South Africa
Zimbabwe Herald

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday met his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma - who is also facilitator to Zimbabwe's inter-party dialogue - at his official Matsheamhlope residence here.

The leaders met for three hours behind closed doors ahead of the extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe that begins at the Sandton Convention Centre today.

Though sources who attended the meeting were tight-lipped on what the leaders discussed, spokesperson for the SA facilitation team Lindiwe Zulu said the talks centred on the agenda of the summit.

A diplomatic source said President Zuma wa-nted to meet President Mugabe to discuss issues of mutual concern.

‘‘As you could see from the body language, the two leaders held fruitful discussions about the political situation in Zimbabwe that should bury the media hype about Livingstone,'' the source said.

After the Livingstone Troika Summit that was fraught with procedural irregularities, some sections of the media sought to brew discord between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

President Mugabe arrived here yesterday afternoon for the Sadc summit on Zimbabwe and the Second Comesa-EAC-Sadc Tripartite Summit that begins at the Sandton Convention Centre tomorrow.

The President - who is accompanied by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and the two negotiators Cdes Patrick Chinamasa (Justice and Legal Affairs Minister) and Nicholas Goche (Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development Minister) - was welcomed at Waterkloof Airbase by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko and South African government officials.

Today's Sadc extraordinary summit was necessitated by the deferment of Zimbabwe from the agenda of the summit held in Windhoek, Namibia, last month.

Zimbabwe, which was initially on the agenda along with Madagascar, was deferred after President Mugabe told the summit that he preferred to have issues discussed in the presence of all principals to the inclusive Government.

Leaders of the MDC formations - Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara - had not been invited to the summit since it was high-level, that is at the level of Heads of State and Government.

More so, Sadc facilitator to the inter-party talks President Jacob Zuma of South Africa was saddled with local government elections in his own country.

The agenda is expected to centre on issues agreed on by negotiators and facilitators when they met in Cape Town on May 5 and 6.

The minutes - which cover the review of the GPA Review Report, election roadmap and the Jomic report - are expected to be presented to the summit.

Sources close to developments said parties to GPA want common ground hence negotiators were scheduled to meet late last night to consolidate the report to be presented to summit.

South Africa wants to finalise the Zimbabwe issue before the August Summit where it will assume the chairmanship of the Troika because then it would be difficult to balance the roles of facilitator and Troika chair as it creates a conflict as SA will have to report to itself.

It is not known what would become of the ill-fated Livingstone communiqué, but the Troika Chair Zambian President Rupiah Banda is expected to present a report on what transpired.

There are disagreements among the three parties on various issues.

MDC-T is pushing for security sector reforms, but Zanu-PF has insisted that this was never part of the GPA and that the country's security sector was solid and did not need to be reformed.

MDC formations also want elections postponed to next year while Zanu-PF insists that if the timelines agreed in the roadmap fit into 2011, then elections should be held this year.

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