Mugabe and MDC to restart talks

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The Independent Online

Talks between Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition MDC aimed at resolving the political crisis will resume on Sunday, according to the South African President Thabo Mbeki.

"It is work in progress. The negotiators are working hard and have committed themselves to the time-frame," Mr Mbeki said yesterday. Earlier, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said that he wanted the negotiations to succeed.

In a sign of the economic crisis that has been worsened by the political turmoil, the central bank said it would redenominate the currency to cut 10 zeros from the Zimbabwe dollar, but analysts said that would do nothing to ease rampant inflation. A loaf of bread costs around Z$250bn.

Mr Mugabe's party began power-sharing talks with the opposition in South Africa last week, but doubts surfaced after they were adjourned on Tuesday.

A two-week deadline for completing the talks runs out on 4 August but it could be extended.

It is unclear what compromise can be reached. The MDC says that only its leader Morgan Tsvangirai can take charge of a new government.