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Zuma breaks impasse in Zimbabwe's fragile government

By the CNN Wire Staff
A file image of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (L) and  Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai dated August 10, 2010.
A file image of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (L) and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai dated August 10, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are at odds
  • South African President Jacob Zuma went to Zimbabwe to mediate
  • He says he had successful consultations on a number of issues
RELATED TOPICS
  • Zimbabwe
  • Jacob Zuma
  • Robert Mugabe

Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- South African leader Jacob Zuma was in neighboring Zimbabwe this week to rescue the seemingly crumbling power-sharing government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The South African president's visit Friday to the capital, Harare, follows escalating tensions between the two leaders, with Tsvangirai this week taking Mugabe to court for making unilateral decisions in the 21-month-old government.

After a more than six-hour meeting with Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who have not been on speaking terms for close to a month, Zuma said he had managed to break the impasse between the two.

"We have met and we have had successful consultations on a number of issues," Zuma told journalists. "They were small issues. There had been a breakdown of communication with the leaders of the government which have been resolved, and meetings will resume."

Zuma joked and smiled with journalists, but that was not the case with Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who remained tense throughout the short press briefing. They refused to talk to journalists as they separately left the meetings.

"No comment. No comment. Talk to the mediator, President Zuma," Tsvangirai told journalists about how his meeting with Zuma and Mugabe went. Mugabe just waved to reporters before he jumped into his car.

Zuma -- who was appointed by regional leaders to monitor Zimbabwe's fragile coalition government and mediate -- said he would brief his counterparts in the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) about the tension in Zimbabwe.

The friction between Zimbabwe's leaders worsened this week when Tsvangirai went to court to reverse unilateral appointments Mugabe made of senior government officials such as attorney general and several diplomats.

Mugabe was ordered in August to reverse all unilateral decisions he has made, but that has failed to happen, leading Tsvangirai to abandon recent cabinet meetings.