Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mad Bob's nuggets squeezed

When the world and your best mate, Mpeki have the family jewels in a vice, the heart and mind tends to follow.

This is the “Zimbabwe will never be a colony again” douche-bag finally backtracking and doing whatever it takes to save himself from prosecution as a war criminal.

Maybe good news on the Zim front after all.

And you, Mpeki, why did it take you eight years to wake up?

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Negotiations in South Africa between Zimbabwe’s ruling party and the opposition were making progress on Saturday, mediators said. "The talks are proceeding well. They’ll aim to be concluded in two weeks time," said Mukoni Ratshitanga, spokesman for South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Ratshitanga did not reveal any details regarding the contents or tone of the negotiations, which began on Thursday.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has said its leader’s re-election in a June 27 presidential run-off has to be recognised for the talks, teed up by an agreement signed with Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday, to succeed.

Tsvangirai’s camp has been advocating a transitional government, with a view to fresh elections, rather than a unity government solution along the lines of that negotiated in Kenya. There, the main opposition figure, Raila Odinga, was appointed prime minister by President Mwai Kibaki earlier this year following a wave of political and ethnic violence that killed some 1,500 people.

Tsvangirai pushed Mugabe into second place in the first round of voting on March 29 but the MDC leader pulled out of the run-off after a wave of deadly attacks against his supporters.

Tsvangirai believes the outcome of the March ballot should be the starting point for any negotiations on power-sharing.

The Zimbabwean government, meanwhile, refused to comment on increased sanctions applied by the United States. US President George W Bush said he had "signed a new Executive Order that expands our sanctions against the illegitimate Government of Zimbabwe," targeting entities and individuals linked to repression and corruption carried out by Mugabe’s government.

But a ZANU-PF official, who requested anonymity, said: "We don’t want to comment on the sanctions (while) the talks are still ongoing."

The European Union also stepped up sanctions last week, although French President Nicolas Sarkozy - representing the EU presidency at a landmark EU-South Africa summit - on Friday showered Mbeki with praise for his mediating efforts.

Sarkozy stressed that the talks on Mbeki’s turf - understood to be taking place in Pretoria - were the only viable forum for a solution to the Zimbabwe political crisis.

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