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Zimbabwe Opposition Denies Power-Sharing Deal

Zimbabwe's main opposition party is denying media speculation that it has reached a power-sharing deal with the party of President Robert Mugabe.

Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson Chamisa says the MDC and ruling ZANU-PF party are still "deadlocked" over the issue of how to distribute power between President Mugabe and main MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

In an interview with VOA's English to Africa, Chamisa said ZANU-PF wants to make Tsvangirai a prime minister without powers to lead the government. He says there was no change in the two sides' positions when they met separately on Friday with South African President Thabo Mbeki.

On Saturday, a story in the state-run Herald newspaper said an agreement has been reached, but MDC has refused to sign and wants to reopen talks on issues that have been decided.

The sides began talks in South Africa in July under Mr. Mbeki's mediation.

Chamisa told VOA that the MDC is still committed to finding a solution to Zimbabwe's political crisis. But he indicated a lack of trust in ZANU-PF, saying the party has a history of manipulating both partners and competitors.

Tsvangirai won the first round of Zimbabwe's presidential elections in March but official results showed him falling short of a majority. Tsvangirai then pulled out of the June 27 run-off, citing a campaign of state-sponsored violence against his supporters.

The run-off won by Mr. Mugabe was rejected by many Western countries and some of Zimbabwe's African neighbors as a sham.

The MDC and ZANU-PF party are under international pressure to reach a power-sharing agreement so Zimbabwe can start to recover from its economic crisis. Food and fuel shortages have helped to push the inflation rate to a staggering 11 million percent, and millions of Zimbabweans have fled the country looking for a better life.