Progress in Zimbabwe talks: Tsvangirai

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Zimbabwe’s two political parties made progress on implementing the conditions of a unity government, Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday.

A unity government formed by Tsvangirai’s MDC and President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF in February came close to falling apart last month, but the two sides agreed on further talks to settle their differences.
“I want to assure you there is progress,” Tsvangirai told a media briefing in Cape Town.

He said negotiations covered the positions of central bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, both Mugabe loyalists whom the MDC and Western donors would like to see removed from their posts.

The MDC, which began boycotting cabinet meetings with ZANU-PF in a dispute over implementation of the power-sharing deal, ended the boycott last month and gave Mugabe a month to implement the agreement fully.
“Now that these issues are being attended to, we want to open a new chapter and say that the inclusive government is consolidating and that we need to build momentum to ensure we can reconstruct the country,” Tsvangirai said.

The fragile unity government is battling to rebuild an economy officially estimated to have contracted by 50% between 2000 and 2008.



The economy is on track to expand for the first time in a decade this year and to grow by 7% in 2010 as agriculture and mining start to recover.
“An increase in the capacity of mine manufacturing from 10 percent to 30 percent will have a direct impact on the growth the minister (Finance Minister Tendai Biti) is anticipating and I think it can be achieved,” Tsvangirai said.