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Tsvangirai seeks wider mediation

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Harare, 27 June 2008
Mr Tsvangirai says the violence must stop before proper talks can begin

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has told the BBC of his frustration at mediation efforts led by South Africa's leader Thabo Mbeki.

He again called for more African Union (AU) input at talks aimed at forming a unity government after disputed polls.

Mr Tsvangirai reiterated his earlier claim that Zimbabwe was under the control of a military junta as reports of violence continue.

The opposition says it will not enter full talks until the violence stops.

Correspondents say South African mediators want the two sides to start full negotiations before the head of African Union Commission Jean Ping visits Pretoria later this week.

You can't ignore role of military and how it's been politicised
Morgan Tsvangirai

President Robert Mugabe won a run-off election in June unopposed after Mr Tsvangirai, pulled out citing state-sponsored violence.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has reiterated his determination to maintain the political pressure on Zimbabwe until it returns to democracy.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Brown said the UK reserved the right to seek a fresh United Nations resolution on Zimbabwe, while pursuing sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's government with Europe and the United States.

Last week, Russia and China vetoed a resolution at the UN Security Council to impose targeted sanctions on Mr Mugabe and 13 of his allies.

South Africa said sanctions would interfere with attempts to form a national unity government.

Mr Brown said that if the mediation efforts by Mr Mbeki failed to yield results, Britain would act.

'Figure head'

Mr Tsvangirai said that mediation efforts had been going on for eight years.

Central Intelligence Organisation head Happyton Bonyongwe (l); army chief Constantine Chiwenga (c) and President Robert Mugabe (r)
Mr Tsvangirai says the military is really in charge

"The situation is deteriorating; there's been state-sponsored violence, and yet we have not heard condemnation of these acts," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"In fact, we have expressed the fact it has to be an expanded initiative to include the AU and that we will insist that AU participation will give us some comfort."

He said it was frustrating as Mr Mugabe continually failed to allow "a solution to emerge".

Mr Tsvangirai was taking part in a special BBC World Service programme about Zimbabwe in which it was suggested that the military was in real control of the government.

"President Mugabe is there as a figure head," Zimbabwean analyst Alex Magaai told the programme.

The MDC leader said he agreed with the analysis that the Joint Operations Command (JOC) - a committee of Mr Mugabe's military chiefs - was running the country.

"I agree with those who have analysed the political matrix in the country as dominated by the military junta that has taken over since the 8 April," he said.

"You can't ignore the role of the military and how it's been politicised," he said, adding that it would be an important part of any negotiations with Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

The MDC says 113 of its supporters have been killed, some 5,000 are missing and more than 200,000 have been forced from their homes since the first round of voting in March.


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