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Mugabe urges West to lift sanctions

world Updated: Sep 25, 2008 10:02 IST

Zimbabwe's president said he sees no obstacles to carrying out a power-sharing agreement with rivals and hopes it will lead the West to ease sanctions, which he blamed for devastating the country's economy.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, the 84-year-old Robert Mugabe was sharp, quick and animated - and made clear he is determined to remain president despite what he said were efforts by Britain and the United States to oust him.

"They are waiting for a day when this man, this evil man, called Robert Mugabe is no longer in control," he said. "And I don't know when that day is coming."

So he has no thoughts of resigning?

"No - or a thought of dying," Mugabe chuckled.

Mugabe, who is to address the UN General Assembly on today, dismissed Western reports that the Sept 15 power-sharing deal could fall apart "because I don't know of any hitch".

Under the agreement, Mugabe remains president but is supposed to cede some of the powers he has wielded for nearly three decades in the southern African country. Long-simmering and bitter differences as well as the nation's economic collapse, though, have put the deal under intense pressure.

Mugabe said on Thursday the only outstanding issue is deciding on four of the 31 Cabinet posts, and the negotiations are continuing in Harare while he is in New York. He declined to say which posts are still being discussed.

The agreement provides for 15 nominated by Mugabe's party, 13 by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and three by the leader of a smaller opposition faction, Arthur Mutambara.

"Every one of us is actually positive about the agreement, or the need to cement the agreement and make it work," Mugabe said.