Mugabe, Tsvangirai sign power-sharing talks deal

July 22nd, 2008 - 12:53 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 22 (ANI): Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are to sign an agreement to end the countrys political deadlock.

The handshake, which came despite the killing of more than 100 opposition supporters during the countrys election this year, followed the signing of an agreement for talks on the way forward, The Telegraph reported.

The room at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare shook with laughter as the two men, along with the South African President Thabo Mbeki, joked with each other.

Tsvangirai said it was a very historic occasion while Mugabe said it was time to chart a new way forward.

They had last met at a Workers Day rally in 1998, and Tsvangirai became leader of the Movement for Democratic Change the following year.

But the five-page agreement for Mugabes Zanu-PF party and the MDC to talk to each other follows a one-candidate election in which the authorities proclaimed the incumbent had been returned to power by a landslide victory.

The two sides still have diametrically opposed positions - Mugabe insists he is Zimbabwes rightful President, while the MDC rejects the notion of a government of national unity and insists that the product of the process must be a transitional authority leading to new elections.

Unusually, Mugabe let the word negotiating past his lips after the signing, having referred to interaction with the opposition. (ANI)

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