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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Urged To Return From Botswana To Re-Engage Talks

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change formation leader Arthur Mutambara have urged MDC founder and prime minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai to return to the country from Botswana, his base for the last several weeks, to reopen discussions on forming a long-delayed a unity government, sources said Thursday.

Political sources said Mr. Mugabe and Mutambara met late Wednesday before the expiration of a Jan. 1 deadline set by Tsvangirai in issuing an ultimatum demanding the release of detained activists, failing which he threatened to ask his party to end power-sharing discussions.

Sources in the government and the opposition said Mr. Mugabe and Mutambara discussed issues including the composition of the cabinet in the proposed unity government, and that they concluded that there could be no forward movement without Tsvangirai’s participation in further meetings and eventually in the long-mooted "all-inclusive" government.

Secretary General Welshman Ncube of the Mutambara MDC formation told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the opposition formation party leader and Mr. Mugabe examined the issues blocking the formation of a government.

Parliamentary Chief Whip Joram Gumbo of Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party said a three-way meeting of principals is essential at this point in the power-sharing process,which waslaunchedSept.15withapoliticalaccordbuthas since stalled.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC grouping offered no objections to the meeting conducted by Mr. Mugabe and Mutambara, but said the dominant MDC grouping at this point needs to see ZANU-PF put some real concessions on the table.

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