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Tsvangirai to Tour Southern Africa as Zimbabwe Talks Remain Deadlocked


Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai begins a tour of southern Africa Monday, seeking help in advancing power-sharing talks with the party of President Robert Mugabe.

The two leaders left a regional summit in South Africa Sunday still deadlocked over who would control a proposed national unity government.

Zimbabwe's justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, told state media today that the negotiations will continue under the mediation of South African President Thabo Mbeki. He expressed hope that a deal can be reached.

Tsvangirai will reportedly begin his tour in Botswana, which rejected the June run-off election that returned Mr. Mugabe to office.

Many international observers dismissed the June 27 election as a sham. Tsvangirai withdrew from the poll before it was held, citing state-sponsored violence against his supporters.

The ruling ZANU-PF party and opposition Movement for Democratic Change began talks nearly a month ago under strong international pressure to reach a power-sharing deal.

Zimbabwe's neighbors fear the consequences if the country's political stalemate and economic collapse lead to further problems.

Millions of Zimbabweans have fled across the borders to escape the country's two million percent inflation rate, as well as very high unemployment and shortages of food and fuel.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.


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