Zimbabwe Foreign Minister: Mugabe Ready to Form Unity Government With Opposition

Zimbabwe's foreign minister said Tuesday that President Robert Mugabe is ready to form a unity government, but remained vague on the role opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai would play.

The announcement follows international calls for such a union, but neither the opposition nor the government has taken any strong action in that direction.

Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said the way forward is for Mugabe to form "an all-inclusive government where all the political parties take part."

But he did not discuss the position that the country's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai would serve in any such government.

Mumbengegwi spoke in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, for a meeting Tuesday with this West African nation's president, President Blaise Compaore. Burkina Faso is a member of the U.N. Security Council.

In New York, the 15-nation council met Tuesday to discuss Zimbabwe, and French and U.S. officials said a majority of Security Council member countries support a proposal to sanction Zimbabwe and freeze Mugabe's assets. But they also said Russia warned it might veto the plan.

Tsvangirai has said he would not participate in talks about forming a governing accord with Mugabe's government unless an additional mediator was appointed besides South African President Thabo Mbeki. Tsvangirai has called on Mbeki to step down from his mediation role, saying his refusal to publicly criticize Mugabe amounts to appeasement.

In Japan, the Group of Eight leading nations branded Mugabe's recent election illegitimate and promised to take measures against those responsible for the violence that prompted Tsvangirai to pull out of the race. G-8 leaders agreed to send a U.N. envoy to help resolve the crisis, but there was no mention of U.N. sanctions.

Mugabe has shown little sign of yielding power after 28 years as president. Despite international condemnation, he went ahead with a one-candidate election last month after Tsvangirai withdrew because of a wave of violence. Mugabe declared himself the winner and was inaugurated for a sixth term as president.