Zimbabwe opposition, government officials meet in South Africa

Zimbabwean government and opposition officials have met in South Africa to try to find a way out of their country's deadly crisis, with the opposition pressing for an end to attacks. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he sent a team to Pretoria, the capital, led by his top deputy Tendai Biti not to open negotiations, but to lay down conditions for talks. Chief among them is an end to violence blamed on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's supporters. "At present the state-sanctioned violence and repressive legislation employed by the regime is designed to silence the Zimbabwean people," Tsvangirai said in a statement Thursday. His Movement for Democratic Change is "committed to finding a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Zimbabwean crisis and we will take every opportunity to clarify our position and to allow the voice of the Zimbabwean people to be heard." The opposition has said more than 90 of its supporters have been killed since Tsvangirai won a first round of presidential elections in March. Tsvangirai beat Mugabe and two other candidates, but did not win the 50 percent plus one vote necessary to avoid a runoff against second-place finisher Mugabe. Zimbabwe's crisis has deepened since Mugabe claimed victory in a widely denounced June 27 presidential runoff in which he was the only candidate. Tsvangirai pulled out days before the race because of the violence.