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Tsvangirai's envoy talks 'halted'

Tsvangirai faces treason charges  

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has had a meeting with foreign diplomats halted by police, witnesses have said.

Tsvangirai, who already faces treason charges, was holding talks with about 30 foreign envoys on Monday when police entered the hotel and disrupted the meeting claiming it was illegal.

The talks, organised by Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), were being held to update foreign dignitaries on what his plans would be should he oust President Robert Mugabe at this weekend's election.

Spanish Ambassador Javier Sandomingo told Reuters news agency the disruption of the diplomatic meeting with Tsvangirai was unprecedented.

CNN's Jeff Koinange reports an attack on a MDC parliament member's house in Zimbabwe was likely a tactic to rattle the party (February 27)

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"We have the right and the duty under the Vienna Convention to talk to political forces when we think it's appropriate," he said.

A police spokesman said he was unaware of the incident but was checking the report.

Tsvangirai is ahead in the opinion polls for the March 9 and 10 presidential elections amid allegations of police harassment and intimidation of him and his supporters.

The MDC says at least 107 of its members and supporters have died in political violence over the past two years, with many of its rallies having been blocked or disrupted.

Tsvangirai also faces treason charges linked to a video claiming to show him discussing Mugabe's assassination with security consultants in Canada. He denies the charges.

Mugabe says the election will be held properly but he does not want observers, including those from some European nations, as he accuses them of bias.

A meeting of the 54 Commonwealth heads of government in Australia decided on Monday to postpone any decision on possible sanctions against Zimbabwe until after the vote.

In a compromise deal, it has set up a three-man committee to then decide whether any action should be taken if the Commonwealth's own election monitors find the ballot has not been free or fair.

Action that can be taken includes sanctions or suspension from the Commonwealth.

The MDC said it was disappointed at the decision, but spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said the party would concentrate this week on shoring up support to make sure it won the election.


• Zimbabwe avoids sanctions
March 4, 2002

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