Commonwealth ministers have begun talks with
President Robert Mugabe after arriving in
Zimbabwe to assess whether promises to end
political violence and intimidation are being
The delegation, led by
Nigerian Foreign Minister
Sule Lamido, is also due
to receive a briefing
Foreign Minister Stan
Meetings are also
scheduled with white
leaders and war
veterans during the
The main aim of the mission is to set a
timetable for President Mugabe's government
to comply with a deal brokered by Nigeria last
month to end the violent invasions of
Officials taking part include Commonwealth
Secretary General Don McKinnon, Britain's
Foreign Office Minister of State Valerie Amos,
as well as envoys from Australia, Canada and
Mr McKinnon told the
BBC it was a priority of
the mission to "ensure
implementation" of the
agreement, signed in
the Nigerian capital
He said the talks would
not be limited to the
single issue of farm
"If you look at the
Abuja agreement it was
well beyond land itself. There was an
undertaking that the rule of law would be
observed too," he said.
But according to the Reuters news agency,
analysts warn the mission may hear the right
words but see little or no action.
There have been mixed messages from Harare.
The government has promised to cooperate
with the delegation amid continuing hostility to
white farmers who have questioned its
commitment to the Nigerian deal.
"I think the
ministers are going to
hear all the right words
from the government,"
leading political analyst
Masipula Sithole told
"But I don't see how
they will get the right
action," he was quoted
Under the deal signed in Abuja, Zimbabwe
agreed to stop homeless black people from
seizing white-owned farms.
In return for Zimbabwe agreeing to respect the
rule of law, Britain agreed to find £36m ($53m)
to compensate white farm-owners whose land
would be redistributed to poor black families.
But Mr Mugabe's government has recently
launched several verbal attacks against
farmers who believe the deal is not being taken
"With this sort of approach, I don't see where
the Commonwealth will find room for progress,"
political analyst Chenjerai Hove was quoted as
Militants have occupied nearly 2,000
white-owned farms since last year, with the
tacit approval of the government.
Farmers say the violence has not let up since
the Commonwealth deal, and that there has
been no action by the government to evict
illegal land invaders.
Reports of violence and intimidation directed at
members of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change are also persisting.