5 Oct 2008

Zimbabwe's political leaders fail to reach agreement

10:02 am on 5 October 2008

Zimbabwe's political leaders have failed to iron out differences over the makeup of a unity government aimed at ending the country's political crisis.

The Movement for Democratic Change says a meeting of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe and MDC splinter group head Arthur Mutambara failed to resolve a standoff over key ministries.

An MDC spokesperson says the parties had a "frank and realistic" exchange, but the allocation of ministries remains deadlocked.

Officials say Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai were expected to meet again early next week.

ZANU-PF said it saw no immediate need for mediation and Mr Mugabe had expressed confidence the cabinet would be named this week.

Mr Tsvangirai and his officials say a deal is not imminent.

Without a breakthrough, Zimbabwe's economy could worsen still further.

The once-prosperous nation has inflation of about 11 million percent - the highest in the world - and chronic food shortages.