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Africa: Daily Press Briefing

Africa: Daily Press Briefing

Robert Wood, Deputy Spokesman

Washington, DC

Formation of Government / July 21 Memorandum of Understanding


MR. WOOD: Well, good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to the briefing. I don’t have anything for you, so why don’t we go right to the questions.


QUESTION: Still on Zimbabwe. We are quoting an opposition party official as saying that the Movement for Democratic Change no longer has faith in the negotiating process in the mediation of South African President Thabo Mbeki, and that they’ve essentially lost faith in the power-sharing talks with Mugabe and that he is welcome to go form a government on his own. One – and it’s an unnamed official.

One, would you discourage President Mugabe from forming a government without reaching some kind of an agreement with the opposition? And two, would you encourage the opposition to keep talking with the Mugabe side to try to reach a deal?

MR. WOOD: Yes, Arshad. I think – we certainly don’t think that Mugabe should form a cabinet without working on a power-sharing arrangement with the opposition. In fact, that would be a violation of the July 21 memorandum of understanding between President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. And so – again, in any – we want to see Mugabe negotiate with the opposition seriously, but again, any effort to form a cabinet without having reaped some sort of a power-sharing arrangement with the opposition would be a clear violation of that memorandum of understanding.

And the second part of your question was -- I’m sorry.

QUESTION: It was essentially to encourage the – whether you would encourage the opposition to keep talking.

MR. WOOD: Well, that’s going to be a decision the opposition has to make on its own. But what – U.S. policy with regard to the situation in Zimbabwe is that any arrangement that’s made between the two sides needs to reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people, as reflected through the March elections.

Anything else?

Okay, thank you.


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