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Zimbabwe Opposition Cool To Church Reconciliation Initiative

Movement for Democratic Change founding president Morgan Tsvangirai and senior members of his faction of the MDC met Friday with religious leaders who have drafted and presented a “National Vision” document to President Robert Mugabe, but the opposition party did not seem ready to embrace the idealistic strategy paper.

Insiders described the two-hour meeting as “honest and frank,” saying Tsvangirai was receptive to the aims of the church leaders but skeptical about the approach.

The document circulated by the Churches in Zimbabwe says church leaders want to "facilitate national dialogue, debate and national reconstruction across the broad spectrum of national opinion, constituencies and stakeholders." Critics say the organization is mistaken in trying to work with the ZANU-PF government.

MDC officials on Friday questioned whether President Mugabe sincerely wanted to resolve the crisis, sources said, and cited a lack of clarity in the way forward proposed by the church group. MDC leaders also told the religious leaders that their paper offers nothing new and merely reaffirms that the country is in desperate straits.

Tsvangirai told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that while he welcomes the church initiative, he is skeptical whether it can resolve the crisis.

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