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Zimbabwe faction leader says deal close PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 August 2008

HARARE, Sun Aug 10, ( - The leader of one of Zimbabwe's opposition factions said on Sunday they were close to a power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe's party to end a political crisis.

Talks began last month in the aftermath of Mugabe's re-election unopposed in June in a poll condemned around the world and boycotted by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition faction, because of attacks on its supporters.

Zimbabweans and neighboring countries hope an agreement could end years of political turmoil and revive an economy whose collapse has spilled millions of people across Zimbabwe's borders.

The leader of a breakaway faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said talks with the government were close to securing an agreement.

In a newspaper article, Arthur Mutambara wrote that the compromise had limitations but is the "best temporary measure to extricate the country from its worst situation".

Tsvangirai arrived at a hotel amid expectations that he would meet Mugabe on Sunday for further talks on the deal, but he left the hotel without making any comment.

A senior ruling ZANU-PF official said on Sunday that Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Mutambara were expected to hold three-way talks.

The ZANU-PF official said a major breakthrough was reached when the MDC agreed to recognize Mugabe's legitimacy as president. He said Mugabe's position was not negotiable.

ZANU-PF had agreed on Tsvangirai as prime minister, but "not in the sense" of media reports which have said he will be given executive powers while Mugabe becomes a ceremonial president, said the ZANU-PF official.

MDC officials were not immediately available for comment.

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