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Africa
Optimism over Zimbabwe talks
Political rivals say progress made and appear hopeful of reaching power-sharing deal soon.
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2008 01:17 GMT
Tsvangirai said there was "a positive development" in the talks [AFP]

Zimbabwe's ruling and opposition leaders have said they are making progress in a new round of power-sharing talks. 

The ruling Zanu-PF, the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a breakaway MDC faction entered fresh talks to end the stalemate this week.

Earlier negotiations to form a unity government stalled over who should wield the most power, the main sticking point in the two months of political wrangling.

But Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, said after several hours of meetings on Tuesday said that progress had been made in some areas.

"We are still going to talk. We are finishing tomorrow [Wednesday]," he said on Tuesday, adding that "one or two areas" were still outstanding.

'Positive development'

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, said "there is a positive development" in the negotiations this time.

"Nothing has been concluded yet but we are hoping that tomorrow [Wednesday] we will be able to look at the outstanding issues."

Arthur Mutambara, leader of the breakaway MDC faction, was even more optimistic, saying "tremendous progress" had been achieved.

"We hope tomorrow we will be able to bring finality and closure to the dialogue process."

Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, is mediating in the talks in an attempt to secure a power-sharing deal to end the wrangling and help ease a post-election crisis.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in a March 29 presidential election but fell short of enough votes to avoid a June run-off, which was won by Mugabe unopposed after Tsvangirai boycotted it, citing violence and intimidation of his supporters.

Source:
Agencies
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