October 13, 2008

Mbeki Invited By “All” Zimbabwe Parties, Due to Visit 13 October

Text of report by website of non-profit South African Press Association (SAPA) news agency

Former president Thabo Mbeki will travel to Zimbabwe on Monday afternoon to try and resolve a deadlock in power-sharing talks, his spokesman said.

"He leaves this afternoon [Monday]," said his spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, adding that Mbeki had been invited by "all the parties in Zimbabwe plus SADC".

Mbeki earlier this year negotiated a power-sharing deal in strife- torn Zimbabwe after being appointed mediator by the Southern African Development Community.

But days after overseeing the signing of an historic agreement between long-time president Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe's opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, Mbeki was removed from office by the ruling African National Congress.

However, the ANC said he would continue with his role as mediator in Zimbabwe.

Last week, Tsvangirai, who in the past criticised Mbeki to be one- sided, called for outside mediation as talks with Mugabe over cabinet posts in a new unity government deadlocked.

Mbeki will be accompanied by former provincial and local government minister Sydney Mufamadi, Director General in the Presidency Frank Chikane and advocate Mojanku Gumbi.

The group returns to South Africa on Tuesday.

Originally published by SAPA news agency website, Johannesburg, in English 0546 13 Oct 08.

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