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UN Security Council, African Union Urged to Discuss Zimbabwe

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he will bring up the issue of Zimbabwe's post-election crisis at a U.N. Security Council meeting Wednesday that will include members of the African Union.

Mr. Ban said the presence of African and Western leaders at the meeting presents a natural opportunity to address the issue. The U.N. chief also called on Zimbabwe to release the results of its March 29 presidential elections.

South African President Thabo Mbeki will attend the meeting. His country holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council, and has opposed discussion of Zimbabwe, saying it is a regional matter.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also will attend, as will representatives of France and the United States, all of whom have expressed interest in raising the issue.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, defeated President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe's presidential election. Independent monitors say Mr. Tsvangirai finished on top in the election but may have fallen short of the majority needed to avoid a run-off.

South African media Tuesday quoted Mr. Tsvangirai as saying his party would take part in a run-off if it was conducted by the South African Development Community, a bloc of regional countries.

The opposition tried to organize a national strike Tuesday to protest the absence of election results, but most Zimbabweans went to work as usual, saying they had not heard about the strike, or could not afford to stay home. Others feared a crackdown by government security forces.

Police say they arrested 30 opposition members Tuesday for blocking roads and coercing people not to turn up for work.

In other developments, Zimbabwe's High Court has postponed a hearing on the MDC's effort to block a recount of both parliamentary and presidential ballots in 23 constituencies.

The MDC says the recount (set for Saturday) is part of efforts to alter the results from the March 29 election. Official results show the MDC seized control of the lower house of parliament from the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.