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Mugabe in informal talks with opposition

18th November 2003

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Zimbabwe's ruling party is engaged in informal talks with the main opposition aimed at finding a solution to the country's political crisis, President Robert Mugabe was quoted as saying by state media yesterday.

"There are informal talks with the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), but nothing is formal," said Mugabe, according to the ZIANA news agency.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who along with South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, last year brokered inter-party talks in Zimbabwe, held talks in Harare yesterday with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe's party officials.

The formal talks between the MDC and Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) were deadlocked last year after an agenda had been drafted and following the MDC's decision to legally challenge Mugabe's victory in controversial polls.

In July church leaders launched efforts to persuade Mugabe and the MDC to meet again to seek ways of pulling the southern African country out of dire economic straits and months-long political stalemate over the disputed presidential election of March 2002.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in September said only pre-negotiation talks were under way. – Sapa-AFP.
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