Zuma claims success in Zimbabwe mediation

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (C) and his wife Grace (R) chat with the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (L) at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on August 10, 2010
Image caption Morgan Tsvangirai (L) and Robert Mugabe (R) entered a power-sharing deal in 2009

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma says he has helped to smooth tensions between Zimbabwe's rival leaders, during a visit to Harare on Friday.

Mr Zuma said the row between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had been resolved, after four hours of discussions.

But analysts warn that these talks may not bring about any immediate results.

The dispute is the latest sign of worsening relations between the long-time rivals.

"They've agreed that there was a breakdown of communication amongst them, and we have resolved that, and so they have agreed to continue meeting," President Zuma said.

Mr Zuma, Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai appeared relaxed at a news conference afterwards, smiling and shaking hands.

The South African leader arrived a day after Mr Tsvangirai took Mr Mugabe to court over the appointment of regional governors.

Mr Tsvangirai says he should have been consulted over the appointments under the power-sharing deal which saw him become prime minister. Mr Mugabe's allies have dismissed the claims.

"In my humble view, submission and plea, all of this is plain, clear and simple. Wherever the Constitution obliges the President to act in consultation with me as Prime Minister, he must first secure my agreement," Mr Tsvangirai said in court papers, reports the AFP news agency.

The BBC's Brian Hungwe in Harare says both leaders have been increasingly critical and outspoken about the failures of the power-sharing agreement - with both calling for an early election.

Last month Mr Mugabe said that the coalition deal should not be renewed when it expires in February.

They agreed to form a unity government after the country's economy collapsed following disputed elections in 2008.


A key part of the deal was to draft a new constitution.

But the process of agreeing a new constitution has been halted following repeated reports of political violence.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Tendai Biti told journalists that Zimbabwe had the finances to cover a poll next year.

"We have put money for elections, of course and for referendums," Mr Biti told journalists after presenting his 2011 budget.

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