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EU Pushes Unity Government in Zimbabwe


The European Union said on Wednesday that Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai should serve as prime minister in any national unity government with President Robert Mugabe. From London, Tendai Maphosa has more in this report for VOA.

EU spokesman John Clancy told reporters on Wednesday that the EU backs African Union efforts to push for the creation of a government of national unity between the two men.

"Morgan Tsvangirai must be part of any transitional government and if we reflect the first round of the election where he won a majority of the vote with 47 percent then it's clear that he should be a leading member of that government as it's potential prime minister or the head of government to ensure that certain reforms can take place," Clancy said to VOA.

The statement follows a similar call on Tuesday by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, whose country has just taken over the EU's rotating presidency.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also echoed the EU position. Addressing parliament Wednesday, he said the only credible election was the March 29 poll won by Tsvangirai's MDC party. He described Friday's poll in which President Robert Mugabe was the only candidate as a travesty.

"I am pleased that yesterday the African Union called for an end to violence, set up a system of mediation and we are talking about a transitional government in Zimbabwe," said Brown.

"Having talked to the U.N. secretary general this morning, I think it's right that the U.N. send an envoy to Zimbabwe, in the absence of real change we will step up our sanctions and ask other countries to do so and we'll ask other countries to do so, we will press for tough action on Zimbabwe at the Security Council later today, we will do so at the G8 in coming days, there will not be support for reconstruction in Zimbabwe until democracy is restored," he added.

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has been the mediator between Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF and Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC party. He said at the end of the two-day African Union summit, that it's up to Zimbabweans to solve their political future.

Mr. Tsvangirai has rejected an African Union decision to keep South Africa's president in charge of efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis. He said that his group would not participate in talks about forming a governing accord with President Robert Mugabe's government unless an additional mediator was appointed.

Mr. Tsvangirai won the most votes in the first round in March, but not enough to avoid a runoff. He withdrew from the race just days before the second round, citing widespread violence against opposition supporters. Mr. Mugabe claimed victory on Sunday after Friday's vote.

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