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Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Thursday, 15 January 2009

Mugabe 'to hold talks with rival'

Morgan Tsvangirai: 'At the end of the day it takes two to tango'

Zimbabwe's opposition leader said he is due to hold talks with President Robert Mugabe "within this coming week" to try to resolve the political crisis.

Morgan Tsvangirai said he was returning to Zimbabwe for the first time in two months, and said he was still committed to an "inclusive" government.

He described Mr Mugabe as "part of the problem but also part of the solution".

Disputes over who should control the most powerful ministries have stalled last September's power-sharing deal.

Mr Tsvangirai told a news conference in Johannesburg the meeting with Mr Mugabe would also include South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, but said he could give no details about the time and place.

It doesn't mean that I trust him wholly
Morgan Tsvangirai

"I still believe that a political agreement offers the best means of preventing Zimbabwe from becoming a failed state," he said.

"I am committed to forming a new inclusive government in Zimbabwe and all I lack is a willing partner".

He had said he would pull out of the power-sharing deal unless the abduction of opposition and human rights activists stopped by 1 January.

Cholera epidemic

Mr Tsvangirai, who has been out of Zimbabwe since November, is expected to return home in the coming days.

He said he had no choice but to deal with Mr Mugabe.

"It doesn't mean that I trust him wholly," he said. "I regard Mugabe as part of the problem, but also part of the solution."

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe has resisted growing calls for his resignation

Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF agreed to a power-sharing deal after disputed presidential elections in March.

Under the agreement, Mr Tsvangirai would be prime minister while Mr Mugabe would remain as president.

But the deal faltered after the MDC accused Zanu-PF of keeping the most powerful ministries - including the one that controls the police - to itself.

As the political wrangling continued, Zimbabwe has been hit by a cholera epidemic that has claimed more than 2,000 lives, made worse by the collapse of the water, health and sanitation systems.

Mr Tsvangirai, and western nations, accuse Mr Mugabe of not being sincere about power-sharing.

Mr Mugabe insists he welcomes the power-sharing deal, and has resisted growing international pressure to resign.



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