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Tsvangirai remains 'committed' to talks

Latest update : 2008-08-14

Despite widespread fears that power-sharing talks in Zimbabwe might have to go on without MDC head Morgan Tsvangirai, the latter says he is committed to talks, and that his contested March 29 victory should stand.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Wednesday he remained "committed to reaching an agreement that upholds the will of the people" after talks on the country's political crisis broke up.

"We knew negotiations would be difficult, but a resolution that represents anything other than the will of the Zimbabwean people would be a disaster for our country," Tsvangirai said in a statement.

Referring to the the first round of the presidential election, in which he finished ahead of President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai said: "We are committed to a solution that recognises that the people spoke on the 29th of March 2008."

Tsvangirai boycotted the June run-off poll, citing violence against his supporters that had left dozens dead and thousands injured.

Three days of negotiations between Zimbabwe's political rivals broke up late Tuesday with the mediator for the talks, South African President Thabo Mbeki, saying Tsvangirai needed "time to consider".

An official from Mugabe's ZANU-PF said the ruling party had reached an agreement with a smaller faction of the opposition led by Arthur Mutambara.

Mbeki said: "We have dealt with all the elements on which President Mugabe and Mutambara agree, but there is disagreement on one element over which Morgan Tsvangirai had asked for time to reflect."

Tsvangirai also called on Wednesday for the immediate resumption of aid programmes in Zimbabwe.

"Our people continue to face a profound humanitarian crisis," Tsvangirai said in the statement.

"Without further delay, we are demanding that NGOs be allowed to resume humanitarian assistance -- distributing food, medicines and life-saving assistance. This destructive policy of banning humanitarian assistance can be reversed with one letter."

Zimbabwe's government suspended aid work ahead of the June 27 presidential run-off election after accusing some charity organisations of siding with the opposition.

Date created : 2008-08-13