Talks to break Zimbabwe’s protracted political deadlock appear to head for a stalemate after President Robert Mugabe vowed Saturday never to give in to demands by his coalition partners on power-sharing.

Addressing about 10,000 loyalists at the close of the national congress of his ZANU PF party on Saturday night, Mugabe said he would not make any concessions during talks with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to break a power-sharing deadlock on outstanding issues from an agreement they signed 15 months ago.

“No tactic, no pressure will make us change our position,” said a defiant Mugabe, citing a resolution by delegates to his party’s congress.

Mugabe has refused to swear in Tsvangirai’s ally Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister, saying he must first be cleared of terrorism charges.

The MDC, however, says the terrorism charges are false and politically motivated to prevent Bennett – a white farmer – from taking up his job in the new government.

The former opposition party also accuses Mugabe of breaching the power-sharing agreement by appointing his allies to head the central bank and the Attorney General’s office without consulting his coalition partners.

Mugabe said ZANU PF would only consider giving in to the MDC’s demands once Tsvangirai’s party honoured its own pledges to seek the lifting of travel bans imposed by the West on senior ZANU PF officials as well as the closure of “pirate” radio stations broadcasting from Europe and some neighbouring countries.

Mugabe and more than 200 of its supporters are barred from travelling to and owning assets in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the United States under targeted sanctions imposed in 2002 in retaliation to what the West said were human rights abuses by his regime.

 (Source)