|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had told the BBC he had been approached with an offer of talks from two of the most powerful figures in the ruling Zanu-PF party.
He said, Parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa and General Vitalis Zvinavashe, head of the armed forces, had wanted to discuss the possibility of forming a power-sharing government.
I was approached just before Christmas about possible negotiations
"The British would like to see that happening but it is not going to happen," he told a news conference.
The BBC southern Africa correspondent Barnaby Phillips says talks would be consistent with proposals put forward by African negotiators working to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Mr Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, told the BBC's The World Today programme that he would be willing to consider an amnesty for Mr Mugabe as part of any possible deal.
But he said the deal would have to involve Mr Mugabe's stepping down, an "end of lawlessness", and free and fair elections.
He said his party was willing to negotiate with the government "provided Mr Mugabe stops the violence [against opposition supporters], stops politicising food distribution and returns the country to political normality".
"The people have to decide," he said.
Peter Longworth, a former British High Commissioner in Zimbabwe, told the BBC he found Mr Tsvangirai's claims "very credible".
He described Mr Mnangagwa and General Zvinavashe as "people who can deliver" a deal.
Mr Tsvangirai said the offer might be related to a power struggle within the ruling party.
"The issue of succession [to Mr Mugabe] has not been resolved within Zanu-PF," he said.
The crisis was sparked by Mr Mugabe's programme of land seizures, and has been compounded by poor rainfall.
Previous internationally-backed plans for Mr Mugabe to go quietly have been vehemently rejected by the Zimbabwean president himself.
But our correspondent says it is likely he is aware of the alleged proposal.
The 78-year-old leader, who was re-elected in March 2002, is due back in the country on Monday after a two-week holiday in Thailand.
Talks between the MDC and Zanu-PF, brokered by Nigeria and South Africa, broke down in May last year after the opposition launched a legal challenge to President Mugabe's election victory alleging fraud.
Mr Mugabe has said he will only step down when his land reform programme has been completed.
From an original 4,000 white farmers, only some 600 now remain on their land.