Pressure on Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai (Chang-Gah-Ree) to quit rose on Friday as senior members of his party debated whether to call an early congress to decide on his future after losing three presidential elections. Tsvangirai has led the Movement for Democratic Change since it was formed in 1999 to challenge President Robert Mugabe - the sole ruler since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain in 1980. But the ex-labor union leader has failed to dislodge the 89-year-old Mugabe in three elections, although none of them was free or fair according to the MDC and Western observers.
U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi has suggested Feb. 10 as the return date for continuing the peace talks between Syria's warring sides. Brahimi told reporters Friday that the opposition has accepted the date but the government wants to discuss the matter in Damascus before agreeing to it. At the end of the first face-to-face meetings between Syria's two sides, Brahimi said he sees some positive steps and common ground but the gaps between the sides "remain wide." Brahimi called the week of meetings "a modest beginning, but it is a modest beginning on which we can build."
After more than a week of negotiations aimed at ending Syria's civil war, the country's foreign minister announced Friday that the Syrian government won't immediately commit to returning for more talks on Feb. 10. Foreign Minister Walid Al Moallem said President Bashar Assad will hear a report on what took place during the past week in Switzerland and make a decision along with the government on when to return for talks in Geneva with the opposition. The minister also dismissed the opposition's demand for the creation of a new governing body that could transfer power away from Assad.
A Pakistani court Friday issued a bailable arrest warrant against Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf, media reported. The special court, constituted to try the former army chief on charges of high treason, also rejected his application for permission to go abroad for medical treatment, Dawn online reported. A three-member bench, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, reserved its decision on the medical report of Musharraf. The court said Musharraf's medical report submitted by doctors did not state anywhere that he was unable to appear before the judges.