Johannesburg, Aug 17 : South African President Thabo Mbeki called for an immediate settlement between Zimbabwe's political rivals to find a way to end the country's political crisis.
Mbeki while appealing for an immediate settlement between Zimbabwe's leaders said that it was necessary to put Zimbabwe on the right road in order "to extricate the masses of the people from the dire straits in which they find themselves".
On the sidelines of a regional free-trade summit in Johannesburg Zimbabwe's political rivals resumed power-sharing talks.
Mbeki will take over the rotating chair of the South African Development Community (SADC) at the summit.
According to The Independent, the Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who is still refusing to make concessions necessary to achieving an agreement with the opposition led by Morgan Tsvangirai, faced protesters from South African unions.
Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Tsvangirai, met key southern African leaders in Johannesburg on the eve of the summit and briefed Mbeki on talks aimed at forming a transitional unity government in Zimbabwe.
On March 29, Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in presidential elections and has insisted that any power-sharing agreement recognise that result. Months of political crisis reached a head with the June 27 run-off presidential vote, which saw Mugabe win after Tsvangirai withdrew over attacks on his followers.
Last week, the three days of marathon discussions between Mugabe, the main Movement for Democratic Change leader Tsvangirai, and the breakaway MDC faction leader, Arthur Mutambara, ended after Tsvangirai refused to agree to a proposed power-sharing deal.
Mbeki has said he is confident that a quick resolution is still possible, raising hopes that an end to the deadlock can be found at the summit.
Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is accused of jailing and killing opponents to hold on to his office.
The mounting crisis has cracked the traditional solidarity of African leaders, while Kenya, Liberia and Zambia have condemned Mugabe's administration.
Moreover, millions of Zimbabweans have fled the country to escape the world's highest inflation rate of 2.2 million per cent, widespread unemployment, and chronic shortages of food and fuel.