The presidents of regional powers South Africa and Mozambique will meet political parties in Zimbabwe on Monday, in a new regional push to break a deadlock in power-sharing talks, South Africa said on Thursday.

_45019181_zimbabwedealap226250iThose talks will be followed by meetings of Zimbabwean negotiators on issues holding back the agreement on forming a unity government, South Africa’s presidency said in a statement. South African President Kgalema Motlanthe will lead a delegation of regional grouping SADC, Mozambique President Armando Guebuza and mediator Thabo Mbeki, said the statement.

Motlanthe is SADC’s current chairman and South Africa is seen as the country with the most economic and political clout in the region. While SADC members Zambia and Botswana have criticised Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has resisted calls to step down, other regional states have failed to persuade the parties to agree despite repeated calls for help from opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Earlier on Thursday, Tsvangirai demanded the unconditional release of detained party activists before the power-sharing deal with Mugabe could be implemented. He told a news conference in neighbouring South Africa that he was committed to the agreement, signed by Zimbabwe’s rival political parties in September, but said he lacked a credible partner.

He said there had been breaches of the agreement by Mugabe’s government, including the abduction and detention of opposition activists.



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