Page last updated at 09:03 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2008 10:03 UK

Tsvangirai calls for Mugabe exit

Morgan Tsvangirai (file)
Mr Tsvangirai said he hoped talks would lead to a compromise

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he hopes President Robert Mugabe will make an "honourable exit" after power-sharing talks.

In an interview with Britain's Channel 4, Mr Tsvangirai said Mr Mugabe was in denial about violence in Zimbabwe.

Government and opposition officials have been holding negotiations at a secret location in South Africa.

The talks, aimed at resolving Zimbabwe's post-election crisis, are expected to resume on Sunday.

Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accuses Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party of stealing Zimbabwe's presidential election.

Talks, which started a week ago after Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai met for the first time in a decade, were halted earlier this week.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has led negotiations over Zimbabwe's crisis, has said the parties are determined to find a solution within a two-week timeframe.

'Sticking points'

Mr Tsvangirai said he was not in a position to define what his role or that of Mr Mugabe would be after the end of the talks.

He [Mr Mugabe] is just as human as every one of us, that he has similar concerns
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai

But he added: "What I would hope is that it will allow [Mr Mugabe] a process of an honourable exit."

"There have been sticking points," he added.

"Some issues have been ironed out, some issues are still outstanding. We hope that as the negotiations proceed they will find a common compromise."

Mr Tsvangirai also spoke about his rare meeting with Mr Mugabe.

"I am sure that there was a common understanding that there is a need to soft land the crisis through a transitional process," he said.

"He is just as human as every one of us, that he has similar concerns, although, of course, I think he is ignorant, and/or chooses to be in a denial stage as far as violence is concerned."

The MDC said on Wednesday that two of its supporters had been killed in Harare last week by Zanu-PF supporters, even after an agreement to start talks had been signed.

The party has previously said that more than 120 of its supporters have been killed, some 5,000 abducted and 200,000 forced to flee their homes after being attacked by Zanu-PF militias and security agents - accusations the Zanu-PF denies.

Mr Tsvangirai pushed Mr Mugabe into second place in the first round of voting on 29 March, but he pulled out of a 27 June run-off election after a wave of deadly attacks against his supporters.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific