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US skeptical about Zimbabwe power-sharing

The United States said Friday it was "a bit skeptical" about whether the Zimbabwean opposition and President Robert Mugabe would finally carry out a power-sharing deal sealed in September.

"I've seen the reports about this agreement, but as you can understand, we are a bit skeptical. These types of things have been announced before. The key is always implementation," State Department acting spokesman Robert Wood said.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Friday he will join a unity government with Mugabe, more than four months after they agreed to do so in a bid to end a crisis stemming from disputed elections nearly a year ago.

"What's important here is actions and not words, and we want to see real, serious power-sharing by the Mugabe regime. So I think the jury is still out on this one," Wood added.

He said the various sanctions imposed by the United States on members of the Zimbabwean government should not be lifted immediately.

"One of the things we will continue to do is to try to help deal with the humanitarian situation on the ground...," Wood said when asked if the US is waiting for a power-sharing government to function properly before it considers lifting sanctions or offering an economic recovery plan.

"But (President Barack Obama's) administration is going to be looking to see, once there is, you know, a government in place that reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people, to see what more we can do with regard to giving a jump-start, a boost to the economy," he said.

"But let's wait and see what happens before we go forward," he said.Heeding a call by southern African leaders, Tsvangirai told reporters after a meeting of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that he will be sworn in as prime minister on February 11.

During a crisis summit in South Africa early this week, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which has long been trying to persuade the MDC to enter government with Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, urged the feuding parties to implement the power-sharing agreement by mid-February.The 15-nation bloc maintains that the accord signed last September remains the best chance of pulling Zimbabwe out of a political and economic crisis since disputed polls in March but it has been held up by disputes over key posts.

 

 
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