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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Announces End of Government Boycott


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Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says his party has ended its partial boycott of the power sharing government and has given President Robert Mugabe one month to resolve outstanding disputes in the coalition.

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai made the announcement at the end of a summit of the politics and security organ of the Southern African Development Community.

The members of the group, the heads-of-state of Mozambique, Zambia and Swaziland, concluded the summit in Mozambique by urging the parties in Zimbabwe's unity government to reconcile their differences under the mediation of South African President Jacob Zuma.

Mr. Tsvangirai said he accepted the SADC resolution.

"We have suspended our disengagement in the government to give SADC and the facilitator, who is comrade Zuma, that within the next 15 days the party representatives will meet to look at all the issues and how they should be implemented - and it's all issues - and that within 30 days all issues must be cleared [so] that we don't have to deal with this dispute once and for all. We are satisfied," he said.

Mr. Mugabe also attended the summit but made no public comment.

Mr. Tsvangirai announced three weeks ago that his Movement for Democratic Change would boycott cabinet meetings and dealings with ministers of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

He accused ZANU-PF of failing to fully implement a power sharing agreement signed more than one year ago.

He also accused the ZANU-PF of trying to undermine the unity government and of re-launching a campaign of arrests and intimidation of his supporters.

Mr. Mugabe accused the MDC of failing to obtain an end to economic sanctions, which he said are hurting the Zimbabwean economy. He threatened to replace the boycotting ministers with his own supporters.

The SADC leaders issued a statement following the summit urging the Zimbabwean leaders to engage in a dialogue in order to implement the spirit and the letter of the power sharing agreement.

The statement also urged them to prevent any further deterioration of the situation.

The power sharing accord led to the formation in February of the unity government with Mr. Tsvangirai, a former opposition-leader, as prime minister.

The new government stabilized the economy by replacing the inflation-battered Zimbabwean dollar with the US dollar and South African rand.

Political violence also subsided in the following months. But human rights groups say there has been a resurgence of attacks and arrests in recent weeks as the political confrontation intensified between the coalition partners.