Zimbabwe Rivals Agree to Start Negotiations

Mugabe, Tsvangirai sign deal creating framework for talks
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2008 12:40 PM CDT
Zimbabwe Rivals Agree to Start Negotiations
In a June 27, 2008, file photo, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition party in Zimbabwe addresses a press conference at his home in Harare.    (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Robert Mugabe has signed a deal with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai establishing negotiations on the future of Zimbabwe, the BBC reports. The rivals met for the first time in 10 years to sign the agreement, which South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki witnessed. The deal does not create the power-sharing structure Mbeki proposed; it creates a framework for further negotiations.

Tsvangirai characterized the agreement as the "first tentative step towards searching for a solution to a country that is in crisis. We want to make sure that every Zimbabwean feels safe, we want to share a common prosperity for everyone.” But he noted that his opposition MDC had many conditions, such as the cessation of army intimidation of supporters, before talks could begin. (More Zimbabwe stories.)

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