SA church leaders meet Zimbabwe counterparts

South African and Zimbabwean church leaders agreed at a meeting today to create a task team to promote talks between the ruling Zanu(PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The agreement, however, was in principle, said Russel Botman, the president of the SA Council of Churches, adding that the clergymen discussed the political and social instability in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwean church leaders raised their concerns on various issues affecting the political instability in their country, especially in the run-up to the 2005 parliamentary elections, he said. "They have raised the issue of lack of independent media and the use of state institutions like the police and the army, by the ruling Zanu(PF) to intimidate and quash opposition parties."

Botman said the meeting was the first of its kind by church leaders from the two countries.