Morgan Tsvangirai (photo, from thesun.co.uk), Zimbabwe’s opposition leader, said he hopes that after power-sharing talks, president Mugabe will make an “honourable exit”. In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4, he added that Mr Mugabe was in denial about violence in Zimbabwe.
Negotiations have been held at a secret location in South Africa, between government and opposition officials. The aim of the talks, expected to resume on Sunday, is to resolve Zimbabwe’s post-election crisis.
Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party are accused by Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of stealing the country’s presidential election.
Started a week ago, after Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai met for the first time in a decade, talks were halted earlier this week.
The parties are determined to find a solution within a two-week timeframe, said Thabo Mbeki, South African president who has led negotiations.
Although Mr Tsvangirai said he was not in a position to define what his role or Mr Mugabe’s would be after the end of the talks, he added : “What I would hope is that it will allow [Mr Mugabe] a process of an honourable exit.”
“There have been sticking points” he added.
“Some issues have been ironed out, some issues are still outstanding. We hope that as the negotiations proceed they will find a common compromise.”
Then Mr Tsvangirai spoke about his rare meeting with Mr Mugabe, saying “I am sure that there was a common understanding that there is a need to soft land the crisis through a transitional process”.
“He is just as human as every one of us, that he has similar concerns, although, of course, I think he is ignorant, and/or chooses to be in a denial stage as far as violence is concerned.”
On Wednesday, the MDC said that Zanu-PF supporters killed two of its supporters last week, though an agreement to start talks had been signed.
On 29 March, Mr Tsvangirai won the first round of presidential elections, but did not secure enough votes to avoid the run-off, from which he pulled out, after a wave of deadly attacks against his supporters.
Previously, the MDC said that more than 120 of MDC supporters have been killed, some 5 000 abducted and 200 000 forced to flee their homes, after being attacked by Zanu-PF militias and security agents, but the Zanu-PF denies the accusations.