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18.01.2009 Zimbabwe

Mugabe calls for government deal

By BBC
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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has called on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to accept a power-sharing agreement or "break" from it.

Mr Mugabe was speaking ahead of talks between the two parties amid new international efforts to get a stalled power-sharing deal to work.

Mr Mugabe told state media he could offer no more concessions, despite criticism he has not moved enough.

The parties are to meet regional leaders on Monday.

According to the Sunday Mail, Mr Mugabe said: "This is the occasion when it's either they [the MDC] accept or it's a break. After all this is an interim agreement.

'Past negotiations'
"If they have any issues they deem outstanding, they can raise them after they come into the inclusive government."

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, his predecessor Thabo Mbeki and Mozambican leader Armando Emilio Guebuza meet the parties on Monday to push for a breakthrough.

However, Mr Mugabe said he had done everything required under the agreement and the time for talks was over.

"We have gone past negotiations and whatever concessions were there to be made have already been made.

"We have done all that SADC (Southern African Development Community) expected us to do and all that remains is fulfilling the agreement by forming an inclusive government," he said in the Sunday Mail.

Meanwhile, MDC was deciding how to proceed with outstanding issues, particularly what it called Zanu-PF's unchanged "mindest and attitude" about a smooth running unity government.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa told AFP news agency: "There has to be finality to the dialogue process - either in failure or in success. We can't continue with dialogue."

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai returned to Zimbabwe on Saturday after an absence of more than two months prompted by a dispute over the government's failure to issue him a new passport.

Under September's power-sharing agreement, Mr Tsvangirai is to become prime minister while Mr Mugabe remains as president.

But the deal faltered after the MDC accused Zanu-PF of keeping the most powerful ministries - including the one that controls the police - to itself.

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