Tsvangirai urges negotiated deal

tsvangirai_afp226b.jpgZimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has called for a
"negotiated political settlement" which would allow the country to
begin "healing".

He also called for the immediate release of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) deputy Tendai Biti, held on treason charges.

He spoke after leaving the Dutch embassy, where he took refuge on Sunday after pulling out of a run-off vote.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has vowed to go ahead with Friday’s vote.

The Zimbabwean government has been criticised by the United Nations and
South Africa’s governing ANC party for the violence which has marked
the run-up to the poll.

Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, urged the Zimbabwean
authorities to end all violence and allow humanitarian aid to reach the
country’s people.

Speaking at a news conference at his house in Harare, he told
African heads of state that the "time for action is now" is resolve
Zimbabwe’s political and humanitarian crisis.

"I am asking the AU [African Union] and Sadc [Southern African
Development Community] to lead an expanded initiative supported by the
UN to manage what I will call a transitional process," he said.

The MDC says some 86 of its supporters have been killed and
200,000 forced from their homes by militias loyal to the ruling Zanu-PF
party. The government blames the MDC for the violence.