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US Envoy Says Opposition Won Zimbabwe Presidential Election


The top U.S. envoy to Africa says opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won a clear victory over President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe's disputed presidential election and that it is time for a change.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer told reporters Thursday in South Africa that, based on what is known, Tsvangirai won the first round of voting and people voted for change.

Tensions are rising in Zimbabwe over the delay in the release of results from the March 29 presidential vote that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change says it won.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission began a recount of the vote in selected districts Saturday despite MDC objections. Commission officials say the early recount results, so far, are the same as the initial vote count.

The European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg Thursday, called on China to stop arms exports to Zimbabwe.

Earlier Thursday South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined the call for an international arms embargo against Zimbabwe until the country's post-election crisis is resolved. He said the supply of arms could cause an escalation of violence in Zimbabwe.

Britain has also said it will push for an arms embargo. But South Africa's ruling party leader, Jacob Zuma, has rejected the idea, saying the situation does not yet call for it.

China announced Thursday that a shipment of weapons bound for Zimbabwe will be recalled, after southern African countries refused to offload it.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said the shipping company ordered the recall. She defended the shipment as a normal arms transaction.

Dock workers in South Africa refused to unload the ship Friday for fear that Mr. Mugabe might use the weapons against his political opponents.

Zuma, in remarks during a visit to London Thursday, said the dock workers acted appropriately. He also called again for the release of results from Zimbabwe's presidential election.

The opposition MDC says its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, defeated Mr. Mugabe outright with a majority vote in the presidential election.

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

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