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South Africa Hosts Summit on Zimbabwe

Southern African leaders hold a summit Monday in Pretoria in another attempt to break the political standoff between Zimbabwe's government and opposition.

Opposition officials say they are willing to compromise.

But Zimbabwe's state-run Mail newspaper predicts the Southern African Development Community summit will fail.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed in September to form a unity government. But a standoff on controlling Cabinet posts is preventing the government from taking office.

Mr. Tsvangirai is also demanding that Mr. Mugabe free opposition activists being held in jail on what the opposition calls trumped-up charges.

The political standoff is doing nothing to help Zimbabwe's economic and humanitarian crisis. The country is suffering from a food shortage, sky-high inflation, a worthless currency, and a cholera epidemic that has so far killed almost three-thousand people.

Tsvangirai beat Mr. Mugabe in a March 2008 presidential election. But neither candidate won enough votes to avoid a runoff. Mr. Mugabe won the second round after Tsvangirai dropped out, citing killings and beatings of his supporters.

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