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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Says Cabinet To Be Completed By Week's End

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe said on Monday that he expects to finish naming a new cabinet by late this week putting in place a unity government with urgent work to do.

Mr. Mugabe told reporters in an impromptu news conference at Harare International Airport on his return from the United Nations General Assembly in New York that only four ministries had not been assigned when he left the country more than a week ago.

Those unfilled slots are believed to be at the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Local government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Sources privy to discussions between Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change say a sensible compromise has been reached.

They told VOA that the new deal will see the MDC formation headed by Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister in waiting, taking charge at Finance and Home Affairs. A ZANU-PF minister was said to be lined up to run Foreign Affairs and Local Government.

Secretary General Welshman Ncube of the MDC wing led by Arthur Mutambara told VOA that the deal could be finalized on Tuesday. But Secretary General Tendai Biti of Tsvangirai's MDC formation said he was unaware of a compromise or a meeting to reach final

Mr. Tsvangirai told reporters on Saturday that it was urgent that a government be put in place this week so it can start to take action to avert a looming food disaster.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that profound economic distress and a massive humanitarian crisis are combining to oblige President Mugabe to come to terms with his unity government partners.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...