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Parties To Zimbabwe Crisis Talks Seek Near-Term Agreement In Principle

Negotiations between Zimbabwe's ruling party and its opposition resumed in Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday, and sources informed on the talks said the parties hoped to reach agreement in principle on all major agenda points by early December.

Negotiators for the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe and both factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change were under pressure to wrap up the talks because ZANU-PF and the African National Congress party of South African President Thabo Mbeki, talks mediator, both have congresses in December.

Sources close to the talks said discussions Tuesday focused on Zimbabwe’s political climate in the approach to the elections slated for March 2008, looking at political violence, Western sanctions and the politicization of traditional leaderships.

Sources in the MDC faction headed by Morgan Tsvangirai said that if ZANU-PF does not implement key agreements concerning the voters roll and reform of the electoral commission, they will seriously consider boycotting next year’s elections.

International Crisis Group Senior Analyst Sydney Masamvu told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that President Mbeki is also under pressure from the international community to produce a political solution by December so that he can go to the European-African summit opening in Lisbon Dec. 8 with something tangible.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...