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Zimbabwe power-sharing deal receives worldwide welcome
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09:21, September 16, 2008

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The Zimbabwe ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change on Monday formally signed a long-awaited power-sharing agreement, ending the political deadlock which had been there since the March 29 presidential election.

The deal also paved the way for setting up of a new cabinet, which Zimbabwe had not had since the June 27 presidential run-off election.

The deal, which was hammered out Thursday after marathon talks, has been hailed worldwide.

The United Nations spoke highly of the deal soon after the two parties reached on Thursday

A statement issued from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's press office said "He hopes that this agreement will pave the way for a durable peace and recovery in the country and contribute to rapid improvement in the welfare and human rights of the people of Zimbabwe, who have suffered for long."

"He congratulates the parties for reaching agreement and commends the mediator, (South African) President Thabo Mbeki, for his tireless efforts to help them reach it," the statement said.

The African Union (AU) has also welcomed Zimbabwe's power-sharing deal between the two rival parties as a "turning point" for the nation

In a statement on Friday, AU said "The chairperson commends the Zimbabwean parties for arriving at this agreement which marks a turning point in the efforts aimed at promoting reconciliation, stability and fostering conditions conducive for the recovery of their country."

The African regional organization highly praised South African President Thabo Mbeki for his "skilful diplomacy and tireless efforts" as a mediator, who is mandate with the Southern African Development Community.

AU called on the world to fully support the hard-won deal.

"The chairperson urges the international community as a whole to do its utmost to support the implementation of this agreement and provide the requisite assistance to that end," the statement added.

Also on Friday, the European Commission hailed the power-sharing agreement between the main political parties in Zimbabwe.

"The European Commission welcomes this significant step forward," a spokesman for the European Union executive told a daily briefing.

"We will have to wait to learn much more about this on Monday. At this stage, we are cautiously optimistic," spokesman John Clancy said.

The spokesman also said that the foreign ministers from the EU member states would discuss economic aid and the future of sanctions on Zimbabwe on Monday.

For its part, the United States responded cautiously on Friday.

"We've seen the press reports about the deal, and we've started to try to get some details about the deal," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

"I'm going to withhold any more definitive comment until we have a full understanding of it," he said.

Lauding the deal, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, whose country witness a similar deal to end the post-election crisis, said on Friday that he hoped the agreement will lead to a durable peace and an improvement in the people's living standards and human rights.

"Today the people of Zimbabwe breathe a little bit easier. The news of the power-sharing agreement that has just been concluded ends a long spell of fear, suffering and uncertainty that befell that great nation..." the prime minister said.

"We thank particularly President Mbeki of South Africa for the role he played in brokering the negotiations. Africa provided immense goodwill and its growing expertise in ensuring a mutually-acceptable deal," he said.

"Our continent and the world are looking forward to an expeditious implementation of the peace agreement so that Zimbabweans can achieve their great dreams of democracy, peace and justice," the prime minister added.


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