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Page last updated at 20:30 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 21:30 UK

Zuma plea for Zimbabwe stability

South African President Jacob Zuma
Analysts say Mr Zuma's assertion does not mark any shift in position

South African President Jacob Zuma has warned that Zimbabwe, with its shaky unity government, should not be allowed to fall back into instability.

He spoke after meeting Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who has led his Movement for Democratic Change out of President Robert Mugabe's cabinet.

The MDC accuses Mr Mugabe of oppressing political opponents and failing to implement last year's unity deal.

Mr Tsvangirai has appealed to southern African countries to mediate for him.

The meeting between President Zuma and the MDC leader in Cape Town followed similar talks with the government of Mozambique.

Mr Tsvangirai will head to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola to brief their leaders.

In Harare, MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told the AFP news agency: "We welcome the comments and concerns raised by President Zuma, as these are concerns shared by the majority of Zimbabweans."

"We cannot allow this process to slide back. That would be catastrophic - it's political suicide."

Mr Zuma's assertion does not mark any shift in position since a regional summit discussed the issue six weeks ago in Kinshasa, says the BBC's Southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen in Johannesburg.



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