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South African President Urges Restraint on Zimbabwe


Despite the delay in the release of Zimbabwe's official election results, South African President Thabo Mbeki said Saturday that the international community should wait for first round results to come out before considering any form of intervention. He was speaking at a meeting of world leaders outside London. For VOA, Tom Rivers has details from the British capital.

At the meeting in Watford, outside London, South African President Thabo Mbeki said he believes the current situation in Zimbabwe is, in his words, "manageable" and that the world should wait for the results from last week's presidential election to be published before considering options.

"Both President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai have said, in the event that there is a need for a runoff, nobody has got the required numbers, they are quite ready, both sides, to have a rerun of the presidential elections," he said. "And I think, let us allow and assist that the election process to go forward as planned. We will see what results come out but as I say both Tsvangirai and Mugabe, they are quite ready for a second round. "

But British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, also speaking at the conference, said those first round results must come out and come out soon.

"The results have got to be published," he said. "They cannot be any longer delayed. The elections have got to be seen to be fair and that is what I think is the united view of everybody here."

If there is a second round, Mr. Brown stressed that it must be seen as free and fair in the eyes of the world.

"In addition to us saying that the results should not be delayed, we are determined that of course there are international observers if there is a second round," he added.

As leaders inside and outside Zimbabwe continued to wait for the election results, a group of about 100 exiles held a noisy demonstration near Zimbabwe's embassy in central London. They chanted, "now is the time for change" and they urged President Mugabe to "go now."

Mr. Brown and Mr. Mbeki will hold bilateral meetings on Sunday on Zimbabwe.

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