UN chief hails Zimbabwe’s powersharing deal (Lead)

September 12th, 2008 - 9:22 am ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Sep 12 (Xinhua) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the powersharing deal between Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).Ban said the agreement Thursday in Harare would pave the way for a long-term peace as well as contribute to the improvement of human rights situation in Zimbabwe.

He praised the South African President Thabo Mbeki for his tireless efforts to broker the powersharing deal between the two Zimbabwean factions.

On Thursday, Mbeki said at a press conference in Harare that the details of the agreement and forming of a unity government will be disclosed Monday.

This development has come after Mugabe issued an ultimatum last week that he would unilaterally pick the cabinet ministers if MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai did not sign the powersharing deal.

Earlier, Tsvangirai had garnered the majority vote in the March 29 presidential election, though it was not sufficient to declare him the winner, as he won by only a narrow margin.

For the first time, since independence from Britain in 1980, the ruling Zanu-PF party had lost its Lower House majority.

Mugabe announced a re-election, which he won unopposed after Tsvangirai pulled out of the race, accusing the Zanu-PF party members of unleashing violence against MDC supporters.

The negotiations began in July with the South African President Mbeki on the driving seat to resolve the impasse resulting from Mugabe’s unopposed re-election in June.

In the subsequent talks, Tsvangirai had demanded for more power in any future unity government, while putting Mugabe in a largely ceremonial role as head of state.

But Mugabe refused that offer.

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