Last-ditch effort to move Zimbabwe talks forward
As dispute persists in wake of presidential election, the country seems poised between negotiated settlement and outright civil war.
With last-ditch efforts to get talks started, Zimbabwe this week seems perched at possible turning point, with a peaceful negotiated settlement on one side, and outright civil war on the other.
Starting Thursday, the South African government initiated a new round of talks between the ruling party of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and the representatives of the opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai. Yet Mr. Tsvangirai issued a statement Friday insisting that he sent a team not to open negotiations, but to set conditions for any future talks, including the condition of ending state-sponsored violence against the opposition.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change claims that more than 90 of its supporters have been killed since Tsvangirai won a first round of presidential elections in March 29. Tsvangirai's victory fell short of the 50 percent required to avoid a runoff.
"We in the MDC are committed to finding a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Zimbabwean crisis and we will take every opportunity to clarify our position and to allow the voice of the Zimbabwean people to be heard," Tsvangirai said in a statement. "I and my party have stated categorically that there are no negotiations between ourselves and [the ruling party] ZANU-PF currently taking place. In addition, we have stated that no such negotiations can take place while the ZANU-PF regime continues to wage war on my party and the people of Zimbabwe."
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