Wait and see:

There are so many reasons not to trust Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s dictatorial president. But the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai — the man who would have won the presidency in a fair election — has decided to take a chance by agreeing this week to a vaguely defined power-sharing agreement.

With luck, and continued international pressure, the agreement could be the start of an extended transition to democracy and economic revival for Zimbabwe’s brutalised citizens. That is, undoubtedly, why Tsvangirai accepted it, despite Mugabe’s history of bad faith. Washington and the European Union are right to keep their sanctions in place until it becomes clearer whether this agreement can produce real change or is just another devious manoeuvre.

The crucial question is how much power Mugabe will retain to intimidate opponents and veto economic reforms. With its rich agricultural land and abundant mineral resources, Zimbabwe should be thriving. Instead, Mugabe has turned it into a land of famine and desperation. These man-made disasters cannot be reversed without substantial help. The US, Europe and others should be ready to provide technical support and aid. But first, they must make sure that this agreement is real and not one of Mugabe’s tricks to stay in power. — The New York Times