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US No Longer Supports Zimbabwe Power Sharing Plan


The U.S. envoy to Africa, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer, said on Sunday that the United States can no longer support the power sharing agreement between Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and the opposition because Mr. Mugabe has reneged on his part of the arrangement.Frazer, who is in South Africa, dismissed Mr. Mugabe's statement that "Zimbabwe is mine".

Jendayi Frazer said Mr. Mugabe is incapable of sharing power. She said he has made decisions about the government without consulting the opposition led by the Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC. Frazer said the Zimbabwean government continues to harass and arrest opposition members and human rights activists.

The U.S. envoy is in South Africa, explaining U.S. policy toward Mr. Mugabe and the power sharing deal. "In my consultations in the region, I feel that, broadly, he is discredited -- completely discredited -- with the neighboring countries. Their only question now is, 'What shall they do?' It's not an issue of whether there is any legitimacy at all with him and his regime. But rather, how do they facilitate a return to democracy without creating a backlash like a military coup or some type of military action or a civil war. That's really what they're debating. But, they're not debating the legitimacy of [Mr.] Mugabe or his regime. It's completely discredited," he said.

Frazer said she is also concerned about Zimbabwe's deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation -- including the rapid spread of cholera that has left at least 11-hundred people dead.

On Saturday, Robert Mugabe told a meeting of his ZANU-PF Party central committee that only Zimbabweans can remove him from power. He said that while he has invited the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to join a unity government, he is uncertain whether such a government could work.

Mr. Tsvangirai defeated President Mugabe in a March presidential election, but without an absolute majority. He pulled out of the June runoff vote, saying that scores of his supporters had been killed.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki mediated the power-sharing agreement in September. On Sunday, Pretoria said that agreement is the only way forward. But other African countries, including Botswana and Kenya, have called on Mr. Mugabe to step down.

U.S. envoy Jendayi Frazer said Mr. Mugabe is a barrier to progress. "He should retire. His time is over. The power sharing agreement should be implemented and it needs to be implemented with someone other than Robert Mugabe as the president."

Frazer said an infusion of U.S. economic and development aid into Zimbabwe is "off the table" as long as Mr. Mugabe remains in office. She added that democracy in Zimbabwe cannot be restarted without genuine power sharing to fix what she called "a failed state".

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