SA Withholds Aid To Zim

SOUTH Africa yesterday said it will not release nearly US$30 million dollars of aid to Zimbabwe until a new government is formed there, as it prepares to host new power-sharing talks next week.

The failure of President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to form a unity government meant that “a window of opportunity” for aid had passed, said South African government spokesman Themba Maseko.
South Africa last month approved R300 million in agricultural aid to Zimbabwe, subject to conditions, to help short-term food needs.
“However, this aid will not be transferred until such time (as) a representative government is in place,” Maseko told journalists.
“Our major concern is that we missed the planting season,” he added.
Foreign ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa confirmed yesterday that South Africa will host a fresh round of talks next week under former president Thabo Mbeki, who brokered Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal more than two months ago.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai have yet to form a unity government, despite several failed attempts by regional leaders to implement the agreement aimed at ending the country’s political turmoil and economic meltdown.
Mamoepa said the exact date has not yet been set for the talks.
The parties will discuss an amendment the Zimbabwe constitution to allow the creation of a prime ministerial post, designated to Tsvangirai. Mugabe (84) would remain as president under the deal. –– AFP

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