Tsvangirai promises to continue talks with Zimbabwe’s president

August 14th, 2008 - 12:49 am ICT by IANS  

Harare, Aug 13 (DPA) A day after storming out of talks on a power-sharing agreement, Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai assured his supporters he would continue to push for a deal with President Robert Mugabe. In his first statement on the talks since they started in South Africa July 24, Tsvangirai said he was committed to reaching a solution that reflected the results of Zimbabwe’s March elections.

Tsvangirai polled more votes than Mugabe in the first round of voting for president March 29. His party says the win gave him a mandate to lead the unity government and is calling for Mugabe to accept a ceremonial role.

“My fellow Zimbabweans, on March 29 you voted for change. You have been clear. We will not betray you,” Tsvangirai said in a newsletter circulated by email.

Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party says he should remain Zimbabwe’s leader on the basis of his victory in the second round of the presidential election in June. Tsvangirai had boycotted the runoff that was widely dismissed as a sham.

A marathon three-day session of talks between the Mugabe, Tsvangirai and the leader of a smaller MDC faction, Arthur Mutambara, ended Tuesday without agreement.

Tsvangirai, in his letter, placed the responsibility for breathing new momentum into the stalled talks squarely at the feet of mediator South African President Thabo Mbeki.

“We hope that as facilitator, President Mbeki will ensure that the issues that continue to divide us at the negotiation table are resolved as soon as possible,” he said.

Mbeki, whom the MDC has accused of being biased in favour of Mugabe, earlier cast Tsvangirai as the reluctant party in the talks.

“There was disagreement on one element of the negotiations by Morgan Tsvangirai,” Mbeki said, announcing the talks had been adjourned to give Tsvangirai time to “consider” the issue.

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