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Opposition Leader Returns to Zimbabwe


Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, returned to his country Saturday for the first time in more than two months.

Tsvangirai told reporters in Harare that his party will not be "bulldozed" into signing a power-sharing deal that does not reflect the will of the people.

Tsvangirai is scheduled to meet with President Robert Mugabe on Monday for talks on how to resolve the country's political crisis.

The leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change signed a power-sharing pact with Mr. Mugabe in September. But the pact has not been implemented because of disagreements over key Cabinet posts. Tsvangirai is also demanding that Mr. Mugabe's government release opposition party members and activists who have been jailed over the last few months.

Tsvangirai Saturday expressed hope the two sides could find a "lasting solution" to crisis.

Mr. Mugabe finished second to Tsvangirai in the presidential vote in March. But Mr. Mugabe's government said neither candidate won an absolute majority and called for a runoff in June. Tsvangirai pulled out of the runoff poll, saying scores of his supporters had been killed.

Zimbabwe is also in the middle of deep economic turmoil and a devastating humanitarian crisis. Cholera deaths have surged to more than 2,200 and the country's inflation rate is the world's highest at 231 million percent.

The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) Saturday announced it is providing $5 million to pay health workers in Zimbabwe, many of whom have refused to show up for work unless they get paid in foreign currency.

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

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