27 Oct 2009

Mugabe, Tsvangirai meet but to no avail

10:57 am on 27 October 2009

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai have just met for the first time the latter's party boycotted the "unity government" - and they got nowhere.

A spokesperson for Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party says the two leaders failed to break the political deadlock that has prevailed since the prime minister pulled out of the coalition government on 16 October.

They held talks for four hours but the spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, says they are "worlds apart" on many issues.

"The principals met. Sadly and tragically the stalemate continues," Mr Chamisa says.

Next hope: meeting later this week

The MDC, which was in opposition in Zimbabwe for many years, says it is now looking to a meeting in Harare later in the week of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to try to break the deadlock.

"If that fails... a free and fair election under the supervision of the international community, SADC and the African Union will be the only option," Mr Chamisa says.

"If they [Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party] are facing west we are facing east," he added.