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Mugabe's Party, MDC to Sign Deal on Talks

Zimbabwe's ruling party and the opposition are expected to sign an agreement soon that could lead to substantial talks on ending the country's ongoing political crisis.

President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are negotiating conditions for the talks.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has insisted that conditions include an end to violence against his political supporters and the release of political prisoners.

U.S. President George Bush Wednesday again warned that the United States is considering sanctions against Zimbabwe after China and Russia vetoed proposed U.N. sanctions.

Both Zimbabwe's ruling and opposition parties are under international pressure to resolve the country's political problems.

Mr. Mugabe was re-elected last month in a widely-condemned run-off vote in which he was the only candidate.

Mr. Tsvangirai dropped out a few days before the election after many of his supporters were killed in violence he said was state-sponsored.

This week a court in Zimbabwe released 14 opposition activists charged with committing political violence.

MDC officials said the activists were freed after the state failed to produce its key witness.

The MDC says more than one thousand other activists and officials remain jailed on what party officials term "trumped up" charges alleging political violence.