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I can work with MDC, says Mugabe

Robert Mugabe calls for sanctions to be lifted

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said he can work with his long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai, following a recent power-sharing deal.

"I don't see any reason why we can't work together as Zimbabweans. We are all sons of the soil," he said.

Under the deal, MDC leader Mr Tsvangirai becomes prime minister, but the two sides have disagreed over the distribution of ministerial posts.

Mr Mugabe told the AP news agency the hold-up only concerned four posts.

But he did not say which ones they were.

Under the deal, Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has 15 ministries, with 13 going to Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and three to a smaller MDC faction.

Mr Tsvangirai is understood to want the home affairs portfolio so he can control the police.

Zimbabwe's president recently told his Zanu-PF party that the deal was a "humiliation" but said he would work with it.

'Solutions'

Mr Mugabe also told reporters at the UN General Assembly in New York that he was "devastated" by the resignation of South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the deal.

It is not clear who will take over as the lead mediator in Zimbabwe, or if Mr Mbeki will continue.

President Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki
Robert Mugabe (l) is 'devastated' that Thabo Mbeki (r) has resigned

Correspondents say that if he were to carry on with his Zimbabwe role, he would lose much of his authority following his resignation.

Mr Mugabe said it was up to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to decide whether Mr Mbeki would be replaced.

Asked who would have the final say if he and Mr Tsvangirai disagreed, Mr Mugabe said it would depend on the issue.

He said that he had always worked with his vice-presidents, so there would be little difference now there was a prime minister.

"And now that we have a prime minister we rope him in and we discuss in the presidency, or whatever we call it, together, and we look at the issues and see what solutions can be applied to any problem that confronts us."

Mr Tsvangirai gained most votes in the March elections but not enough for an outright victory, according to official results.

He pulled out of the run-off in June, accusing Zanu-PF militias and the security forces of attacking opposition supporters, leaving some 200 dead and 200,000 displaced.

Under the deal, Mr Mugabe retains control of the army.


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