Zimbabwe needs aid not sanctions: Tsvangirai

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday said the southern African nation needed urgent humanitarian aid and warned against imposing more sanctions on his country.

Speaking to reporters in France after attending an international development conference Tsvangirai said instead of more sanctions Zimbabwe must have emergency humanitarian aid as millions of people needed food and medicine to counter the spread of cholera.

France is the current head of the European Union (EU) that has since 2002, together with other Western nations, maintained visa sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's administration, frozen long-term aid projects in Zimbabwe and imposed an arms embargo.

Currently, 172 people linked to Mugabe's government and four companies believed to financially support Mugabe and his ZANU PF party are on the EU blacklist.

Tsvangirai said an offer for his party to head the finance ministry was a trap by Mugabe, adding that the MDC should be given more power over internal security.

"The country is broke and therefore he (Mugabe) wants us to go and clean up the mess by establishing financial rules because he does not have financial relations with anybody," Tsvangirai said.

The MDC leader said that a September 15 power-sharing agreement with Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara, who heads a rebel opposition faction, could still yield results despite fundamental disagreements between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

The power-sharing deal that was mediated by the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc has stalled following disagreements between Mugabe and Tsvangirai over the sharing of key Cabinet portfolios such as home affairs.

An extraordinary SADC summit in Johannesburg last week ordered that an inclusive government be formed in Zimbabwe and the home affairs ministry be co-managed by the MDC and Mugabe's ZANU PF party.

The MDC dismissed the decision and said it was not going to join any new government formed unless all outstanding issues to the power-sharing agreement had been resolved.