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Page last updated at 15:12 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 16:12 UK

Zimbabwe government 'this week'

Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, speaking at the UN
Robert Mugabe denied there had been deadlock over cabinet appointments

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has said he expects a unity government to be formed by the end of this week.

He also denied that negotiations with the opposition were deadlocked over appointments to key cabinet posts.

Mr Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed an outline agreement on a new government earlier this month.

Mr Mugabe will remain president, while Mr Tsvangirai will become prime minister in a government tasked with ending the economic crisis.

Speaking to reporters in Zimbabwe on his return from a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, Mr Mugabe said ministries had been discussed before he had left for the UN.

"Only four [ministries] remain, but there is no deadlock. We will be setting up government this week, towards the end of the week," he said.

He did not name the ministries where no agreement has been reached but Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is keen on getting the posts of finance, home affairs and information.

Mr Mugabe's comments follow calls last Saturday by Morgan Tsvangirai for the power-sharing government to be formed "in the next few days".

Sharing power

Under the power-sharing deal agreed between the two men, President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party will get 15 cabinet seats.

Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC will get 13 cabinet posts, and a breakaway faction of the MDC, led by Arthur Mutamabara, will be handed three positions, giving the combined opposition a narrow majority.

Mr Mugabe will chair the cabinet, which decides on government policy. His rival, Mr Tsvangirai, will chair a council of ministers, which implements policy.

The president also keeps control of the military, while the MDC wants to direct the police.

The MDC says all instruments of state have been used to hamper its activities in recent years.

With inflation in the country still officially at about 11 million per cent, people in Zimbabwe have seen little benefit from the outline deal.

It is hoped that the formation of a stable government will lead to an economic recovery.

Mr Tsvangirai gained more votes than Mr Mugabe in the March elections but not enough for outright victory.

He pulled out of a run-off in June, accusing Zanu-PF militia and the army of organising attacks on its supporters which left some 200 people dead.

Power-sharing diagram




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