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South Africa Facilitation Team Meets GPA Negotiators

Published on Wednesday 9th December 2009

THE Sadc facilitation team appointed by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma to assist in negotiations between parties to the Global Political Agreement arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday and met negotiators from the three parties.

Zanu-PF negotiator Cde Patrick Chinamasa last night said they had held lengthy discussions with the visiting team and had presented a report that will be forwarded to President Zuma.

The report will then go to the chair of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, Mozambique's President Armando Guebuza, who will decide whether or not an extraordinary Troika summit will be required.

Cde Chinamasa said: "We met for more than three hours with the facilitators.

"Our discussions were wide-ranging and constructive. We gave them our report, the same report we gave to our principals.

"We are going to carry out extensive discussions with our principals and within party structures."

The negotiators will meet again next week on a date yet to be agreed on.

Cde Chinamasa said the purpose of next week's meeting would be to forge a way forward dependent on the intra-party consultations.

The facilitators are expected to fly back to South Africa today after meeting President Mugabe.

The three-member team yesterday also met MDC-T and MDC leaders Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara separately.

Cdes Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche are representing Zanu-PF, while the MDC formations are represented by Mr Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma (MDC-T), and Professor Welshman Ncube and Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) in the talks.

The Sadc facilitation team is in Zimbabwe to assess progress made by the inclusive Government, while also looking at how far the negotiators have gone in resolving outstanding issues as recommended by the Sadc Troika meeting in Mozambique last month.

The team comprises former South African ministers Charles Nqakula and Mac Maharaj, and President Zuma's international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu.

Prof Mutambara yesterday said: "We met the facilitators, but we would want to protect our discussions for the good of the negotiations," he said.

An official in Mr Tsvangirai's office added: "I can confirm that Mr Tsvangirai met the facilitation team. The team indicated that they are in Zimbabwe to assess progress made in the negotiations as was recommended by the Sadc Communiqué issued after the Troika Summit in Mozambique.

"They indicated that they wanted to see how far the parties had gone on dealing with outstanding issues to the GPA.

"The team is also eager to see that parties to the GPA deliver on the path to recovery and reconstruction," he said.

The facilitation team was in Harare last week and met President Mugabe and the negotiators.

Zanu-PF cites among the outstanding issues the removal of the illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country by the West at the instigation of the MDC formations.

The party has also called for disbanding of parallel Government structures in PM Tsvangirai's office, pirate radio stations operating outside Zimbabwe and external interference in Zimbabwe's internal affairs.

MDC-T has called for the swearing in of Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and a review of the appointments of Dr Gideon Gono and Mr Johannes Tomana as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor and Attorney-General respectively.

Zanu-PF, however, insists that Bennett must be cleared of the terror-related criminal charges he is facing in the High Court, while indicating that President Mugabe constitutionally appointed Dr Gono and Mr Tomana when MDC-T was stalling on joining the inclusive Government.

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