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Tsvangirai calls for 'armed peacekeepers'

world Updated: Jun 25, 2008 22:01 IST

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday called for peacekeepers to resolve his country's political crisis and warned there would be no talks until "political prisoners" were freed.

At the same time, he said that a "negotiated political settlement" that allows for "national healing" was the best option for the country.

Tsvangirai, who addressed reporters at his home after temporarily leaving his refuge in the Dutch embassy, where he had been since Sunday night, also told African leaders "the time for action is now" to push for a solution in Zimbabwe.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader referred to previous written comments he had made regarding peacekeepers in the country.

"I didn't ask for any military intervention, but for armed peacekeepers," he told reporters, referring to previous written comments.

The opposition leader had said in Britain's Guardian newspaper that the United Nations had to go further than verbal condemnation of President Robert Mugabe and move on to "active isolation" which required "a force to protect the people."

He said a "transitional period" was needed "to allow the country to heal," urging the African Union and the 14-nation Southern African Development Community to lead the effort.

Tsvangirai called for a "negotiated political settlement" that allows for economic reconstruction, aid distribution and "democratisation," saying such a solution "would be in the best interest of the country."

But he added that he would not participate in talks until "political prisoners", including the party's number two leader, were freed from jail.