- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Mugabe turns 83 amid fawning praise

HARARE — President Robert Mugabe, Africa’s oldest-serving leader, turned the screws on the opposition and soaked up the praise of loyalists on his 83rd birthday yesterday as shops ran out of bread.

The Mugabe-controlled security services forbade rallies here in the capital by his detractors as government media lavished praise on the man who has ruled the country since independence from Britain in 1980.

“President an unparalleled visionary,” read the headline of the Herald newspaper, which dedicated 16 pages to pictures and congratulatory messages. The Defense Ministry bought a half-page ad in the same paper in which military chiefs lined up to laud Mr. Mugabe for his “heroic guidance and leadership during and after the liberation struggle.”


President, unions differ over premier

CONAKRY — With the country under martial law and in the grip of a general strike, union leaders held talks yesterday with President Lansana Conte’s government on how to end weeks of unrest that have left scores dead.

The government and the unions remain divided over who should be prime minister with special extended powers to guide the country out of an economic and social crisis, said Ousmane Souare, a spokesman of the Syndicated Union of Workers of Guinea.

A trade union source, said Mr. Conte’s representatives at the talks wants the unions to agree that Eugene Camara remain prime minister. The unions say Mr. Camara is too closely linked to the president, who has ruled the country for 23 years.


Chad, Libya, Eritrea seek peace in Sudan

TRIPOLI — Chad’s president, Idriss Deby, arrived here yesterday for talks on bringing peace to the Darfur region of western Sudan, scene of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The violence in Darfur has spilled into Chad, which accuses Sudan of supporting rebels conducting cross-border attacks that have increased ethnic tensions and created a flood of refugees. “We hope this crisis will find its appropriate solution,” Mr. Deby told Libya’s Jana news agency on arrival.

Jana said Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki and Mr. Deby met before the main talks to “consult on steps aimed at completing the signing in Darfur of the peace accord.”

Weekly notes …

Lesotho’s ruling party was re-elected by a landslide yesterday with the announcement of final results in the weekend elections as the main opposition leader grudgingly conceded defeat. The Independent Electoral Commission said Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy took 61 of the 80 seats. With the LCD’s alliance partner, the National Independence Party winning 21 of the 40 remaining seats, Mr. Mosisili is assured a majority in his third term. … Three men from Canada, Taiwan and the United States have run 4,700 miles across the Sahara Desert to draw attention to the lack of access to water in many places they crossed, one runner said yesterday. American Charlie Engle said the trio crossed Africa from St. Louis in Senegal to the Red Sea coast in 111 days, running 98 percent of the way and walking when forced to by illness or the terrain. Mr. Engle, Ray Zahab of Canada and Kevin Lin of Taiwan left the Atlantic coast Nov. 2 and ran through Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya and Egypt, Mr. Engle told Reuters in a telephone interview.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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