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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Rejects Latest Opposition Demands


State media in Zimbabwe say President Robert Mugabe's party has rejected the opposition's latest power-sharing demands.

The Herald newspaper reports Saturday that the ruling ZANU-PF has dismissed the suggestion that the Cabinet be co-chaired by Mr. Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as "stunning ignorance on how government works."

The harsh words come just a day after power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe's ruling party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change resumed in South Africa.

The talks stalled two weeks ago without any deal being signed.

In another development Friday, Zimbabwe's government said it is lifting a ban on international aid groups providing food and other assistance. The ban was imposed earlier this year after the Mugabe government accused the groups of supporting the opposition.

The opposition MDC had demanded the ban be lifted at the opening of power-sharing talks last month.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the news that the ban had been lifted. He said it will help ensure that impartial humanitarian assistance is provided to Zimbabweans.

The ban had been condemned by many nations as a ploy by the ruling party to manipulate votes ahead of presidential elections.

President Mugabe won a runoff election in June after Tsvangirai dropped out of the race, citing state-sponsored violence against his supporters.

Many Western countries and some of Zimbabwe's neighbors dismissed the runoff as a sham, and pressed ZANU-PF to enter the power-sharing talks with the MDC.

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

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