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Mugabe to meet Tsvangirai on unity govt

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will meet opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday to discuss the formation of a possible unity government, Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba said.

News of the meeting is the clearest sign yet that the parties could be close to a deal after a disputed election on March. Charamba also said the meeting would also include Arthur Mutambara, the leader of a breakaway Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction.

Charamba said the talks would start at 7am GMT and include discussion of the structure of a possible unity government between the political rivals.

South African President Thabo Mbeki arrived in Zimbabwe on Saturday to mediate power-sharing talks between the ruling party and the opposition amid growing optimism over an agreement.

Media reports have said Mugabe and Tsvangirai could secure a deal on Sunday.

Charamba said earlier talks between the ruling Zanu-PF and the MDC had reached a milestone, but he declined to comment on whether a power-sharing deal was imminent.

The talks began more than two weeks ago to resolve a crisis that came to a head after the 84-year-old Mugabe was re-elected in a widely condemned poll. The opposition boycotted the decisive second round, citing violence against its supporters.

Mugabe, in power since 1980, welcomed Mbeki at the airport and they drove off together to a Harare hotel, officials said.

It is still not clear if Mbeki will meet with Mugabe and Tsvangirai individually or hold three-way discussions.

Mugabe said on Thursday the talks were going well but dismissed as nonsense media reports about a draft agreement under which Tsvangirai would run the country as prime minister while Mugabe would become ceremonial president.

The two sides are under heavy pressure to resolve a deepening crisis that has ruined the once prosperous economy and flooded neighbouring states with millions of refugees. – Reuters

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