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Zimbabwe Opposition Says Election Killed Unity Government Option


A top leader of Zimbabwe's opposition says the option of forming a unity government in Zimbabwe ended when President Robert Mugabe went ahead with his one-man election Friday.

In a statement from the capital, Harare Tuesday, Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general, Tendai Biti, says the sham election of June 27 ended any prospects for a negotiated settlement to Zimbabwe's political crisis.

Biti also strongly denied reports that the MDC had been holding talks with President Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, calling the reports malicious and false.

Other countries, including South Africa, have called for the ruling party to open talks with the opposition to form a Kenya-style power-sharing agreement.

But earlier Tuesday, Zimbabwe presidential spokesman George Charamba dismissed those calls, saying Kenya is Kenya and Zimbabwe is Zimbabwe, and the two nations have different ways of resolving conflict.

Charamba spoke as leaders at the African Union summit in Egypt's Sharm el Sheikh resort worked to forge a common response to the political turmoil that has gripped Zimbabwe.

The Mugabe spokesman lashed out at one of Zimbabwe's most vocal critics, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, saying Mr. Odinga's hands "drip with blood."

The Kenyan prime minister took office through a power-sharing agreement only after an outbreak of violence that killed at least 1,500 people.

Western leaders and the United Nations have rejected the results of Friday's election in Zimbabwe, saying it was neither free nor fair.

The West has called on African leaders to do the same. But Mr. Mugabe received a warm welcome Monday from his peers at the summit in Egypt. The summit is expected to consider a resolution on Zimbabwe Tuesday.

Several African countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal, are known to be pressing behind the scenes for a strong statement condemning the runoff election.

Zimbabwe was not scheduled to be the focus of the two-day African Union summit, but the runoff controversy has dominated conversation among the leaders.

AU Peace and Security Commissioner, Algeria's Ramtane Lamamra, says the AU is trying to focus on ways to help unite Zimbabwe for the good of its people.

Lamamra also rejects allegations that the union lacks the political will to confront tough issues like Zimbabwe.

The MDC says pro-Mugabe militants killed dozens and injured thousands of opposition party supporters in the run-up to the vote.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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