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Zimbabwe's opposition has denied a suggestion by President Robert Mugabe that a unity government deal is imminent, saying talks were still deadlocked.

Zimbabwe's opposition has denied a suggestion by President Robert Mugabe that a unity government deal is imminent, saying talks were still deadlocked.

Mugabe told his Zanu-PF supporters on Monday that he hoped the government would be formed by the end of the week, which would end a two-week deadlock since a framework deal was signed on September 15.

The impasse with Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC over cabinet posts has dashed Zimbabweans' hopes that the country could start to climb out of economic chaos marked by the world's highest rate of hyper-inflation.

MDC general secretary Tendai Biti said yesterday: "He (Mugabe) obviously knows something that I do not. We have a deadlock and our positions are tangential.

"As far as we know there was no agreement on anything."

Biti said a constitutional amendment still had to be drafted to give legal effect to the power-sharing deal.

"Also, importantly, constitutional amendment No19 still has to be drafted because without it there is no legal foundation for the government," Biti said.

"For instance, the constitution does not currently provide for the office of the prime minister."

Tsvangirai, who is set to become prime minister under the deal, called on Saturday for the formation of a power-sharing government "in the next few days" to help end the crisis.

Mugabe would retain the presidency and chair the cabinet, while Tsvangirai would be made head of a council of ministers supervising the cabinet.

Arthur Mutambara, leader of a small breakaway MDC faction, would be included as one of two deputy prime ministers. - Reuters

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