Hopes and fears of a controversial breakthrough come to nothing
There is no agreement between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the MDC splinter group led by Arthur Mutumbara. After a night of rumours, statements and counter-statements, that much became clear here in Harare this morning, Wednesday. The talks on a future government for Zimbabwe remain deadlocked.
Earlier a statement by a Zanu-PF delegate claimed that the tiny MDC splinter group had agreed a separate deal with Mugabe, which would have excluded the main MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, from any incoming government of national unity.
But this was initially denied by Mutumbara's own spokesman, Welshman Ncube, and later also dismissed by the mediator at the Harare talks, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
Mbeki told reporters that the talks had paused to allow Tsvangirai to consider proposals that have been put to him. Tsvangirai himself was silent, but looked grave as he left the downtown Harare hotel where the talks are being held. There is no news of when they will resume.