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Zimbabwe's MDC Challenges Mugabe Reassurances On Power-Sharing

President Robert Mugabe has moved to calm apprehension that the power-sharing accord he signed September 15 with the rival Movement for Democratic Change is unraveling over the issue of what ministries will be controlled his ZANU-PF and the MDC.

Mr. Mugabe on Wednesday told the Associated Press in New York that negotiators for the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the MDC have agreed on all but four cabinet appointments, adding that he believes he can work with MDC founder and prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai.

A spokesman for Tsvangirai's MDC formation accused Mr. Mugabe of grandstanding and trying to play down the first major crisis of the power-sharing process.

Mr. Mugabe dismissed reports that the accord could fail, saying “I don't know of any hitch." He told AP that he hopes the deal will lead the West to ease the targeted sanctions he blames for the country’s profound economic distress.

A senior ZANU-PF official told VOA that the as-yet-unassigned ministries include finance, home affairs, local government and foreign affairs.

He said negotiators have referred these back to the principals as there were concerns some of the negotiators might have a personal stake in the outcome.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of Tsvangirai's MDC formation told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Mugabe is making light of serious problems.

Chamisa accused ZANU-PF of attempting to seize all the key ministries and that this flies against the spirit of cooperation in which the accord was signed.

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