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U.S. aid goes if Mugabe stays, envoy says

Dec. 22, 2008 at 8:58 AM
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HARARE, Zimbabwe, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The United States won't support a Zimbabwean government that includes President Robert Mugabe, a U.S. envoy told reporters.

Jendayi Frazer, U.S. assistant secretary of State for African affairs, said a power-sharing agreement between Mugabe and the opposition is "not credible with Mugabe as president" because he seems unwilling to share control, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The comments, coming days after U.S. President George Bush and other world leaders called on Mugabe to step aside, indicate a shift in U.S. policy toward the power-sharing agreement reached in September, the Post said. In exchange for Mugabe sharing power with Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and others, the United States and other countries pledged to provide aid and ease sanctions against Zimbabwe, already in political and economic upheaval and now in the throes of a cholera outbreak.

Frazer, citing several reported comments made by Mugabe, during a news conference on Sunday called Mugabe "a man who's lost it, who's losing his mind, who's out of touch with reality."

Implementing the agreement has stalled as parties deadlocked on assignment of key ministries, including controlling security forces Mugabe used to intimidate his opposition, especially during this year's election in which Tsvangirai ran. Tsvangirai's party, Movement for Democratic Change, has accused Mugabe's ruling party of wanting to make the MDC a "junior member" in the government and of abducting more than 40 opposition and civil society activists in an effort to quell criticism.

Tsvangirai has threatened to cut off talks Jan. 1 unless those abducted are either released or charged.

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