Zanu-PF, MDC join hands to end violence

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday called on their supporters to end political violence, the most tangible sign of progress since power-sharing talks began two weeks ago.

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday called on their supporters to end political violence, the most tangible sign of progress since power-sharing talks began two weeks ago.

In a joint statement they urged "all our supporters and members and any organs and structures under the direction and control of our respective parties to stop and desist from the perpetration of violence in any form".

Zanu-PF and the MDC began power-sharing talks after President Robert Mugabe's re-election in a widely condemned June poll boycotted by the opposition.

The appeal to stop political bloodshed came as a South African newspaper reported that a draft agreement was being circulated aimed at ending Zimbabwe's political stalemate.

Under the plan MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai will run the country while Mugabe will become ceremonial president.

The two sides are under heavy international pressure, including from within Africa, to resolve a crisis that has ruined the once prosperous economy and flooded neighbouring states with millions of refugees.

"The parties express their readiness to work individually and together in the ongoing dialogue to make public undertakings in ensuring the safety of any displaced persons and their safe return home," the joint statement said.

It also vowed to enable humanitarian and social welfare organisations to assist Zimbabweans who are suffering an economic meltdown.

The Star said the draft settlement would be the basis for talks between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in Harare today.

The Zimbabwean government and MDC officials were not immediately available for comment about the newspaper report. - Reuters

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