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Tsvangirai says new talks unlikely soon

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said power-sharing negotiations have broken down and are unlikely to resume soon, South Africa’s Talk Radio 702 reported on Wednesday.

The talks have stalled over how executive power should be shared by President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who refused to sign an agreement that would have made him prime minister.

Tsvangirai has protested against a proposed deal, saying it did not give him enough executive powers in government.

The sMovement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader said he refused to sign a deal with Mugabe because the proposal would have given the veteran leader control of security force.

”There was an attempt to fragment the Cabinet. With some ministries reporting to the president and some ministries reporting to the prime minister,” he told Talk Radio 702.

”In this case the economic and social ministries will go to the prime minister. The security ministries will go to the president.”

Talk Radio 702 quoted Tsvangirai as saying he ”was not aware of plans” for the talks to resume soon.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in a March 29 election but fell short of enough votes to avoid a run-off vote, which was won by Mugabe unopposed after Tsvangirai pulled out citing violence and intimidation against his supporters.

The deadlock has worsened a catastrophic economic decline marked by the world’s highest inflation rate of over 11-million percent, and chronic food, fuel and foreign currency shortages that have driven millions of Zimbabweans to regional countries.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is expected to announce a Cabinet soon, a move the MDC has warned would endanger efforts to form a national unity government.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, mandated by regional countries to mediate in the Zimbabwe talks, has drawn fire for not taking a tough line with Mugabe, a policy he says would only exacerbate tensions.

Tsvangirai was critical of Mbeki.

”The mediator says there is sufficient grounds for us to sign. He is not the one who is going to sign. It’s me. – Reuters

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