October 28, 2008

Expanded Zimbabwe Talks Urged

African leaders called Tuesday for a full summit meeting of the 14-member Southern African Development Community to discuss Zimbabwe, officials said.

The call came after mediation efforts to resolve a political deadlock between Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai on sharing power in the country have failed to produce any results, the New York Times reported.

An overnight session in Harare led by South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Swaziland was unable to resolve the key issue in the negotiations: who would control the police under the power-sharing deal. Observers said a possible decision by the SADC to hold a full-scale summit on Zimbabwe would be seen as a small victory for Tsvangirai, who is hoping more pressure will be put on Mugabe.

The protracted political wrangling is not helping Zimbabwe's suffering population, the Times said. The nation's people are facing shortages of food and fuel, water and electricity, and are dealing with an economy so crippled that inflation is running at an annual rate of 231 million percent.