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Opposition will quit talks unless abductions cease

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2008-12-19

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) says his Movement for Democratic Change will cease power-sharing talks with the ruling party unless abductions that have seen 42 opposition members go missing end.

AFP - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Friday that his Movement for Democratic Change will quit talks for a unity government if abductions of party members do not stop.
   
"More than 42 members have been abducted," Tsvangirai told reporters at a press briefing in the Botswana capital.
   
"If these abductions do not cease immediately and if all abductees are not released or charged in a court of law by January the 1st 2009, I will be asking the MDC's national council to pass a resolution to suspend all negotiations and contact with ZANU-PF."
   
The MDC, unions and several human rights groups have warned of increased abductions with Zimbabwe plunging into further ruin as its leaders fail to resolve a deadlocked political crisis.
   
President Robert Mugabe, who has faced growing international pressure to quit office, accused the United States of urging African nations to topple him, state media reported Friday.
   
"I do not know of any African country that is brave enough to do that," Mugabe was quoted as telling a meeting of his ZANU-PF party.
   
Australia this week joined France, the US and Britain in calling for Mugabe to step down and increased sanctions against the veteran leader's regime, which the West blames for the crisis in Zimbabwe.
   
Few African nations have been openly critical of Mugabe although Botswana's President Ian Khama infuriated his Zimbabwean counterpart last month by calling for a re-run of disputed elections under international supervision.
   
Mugabe also said he would soon discuss forming a unity government with his two political rivals. Negotiations to form the government following a power-sharing deal in September have deadlocked.
   
"We will be inviting the two leaders -- Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara -- to come and discuss the way forward," said Mugabe.
   
Unity government discussions have stalled over disagreements on the allocation of key ministries, including home affairs, which controls the police.
   
Last week, parliament published a constitutional amendment creating the post of prime minister, a position Tsvangirai is supposed to fill under the power-sharing deal.
 

Date created : 2008-12-19

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