The United States Friday expressed deep disappointment that Zimbabwe's
presidential runoff election went forward even though incumbent
President Robert Mugabe was the only candidate. U.S. officials say they
will pursue new bilateral and international action against the Mugabe
government. VOA's David Gollust reports from the State Department.
diplomats were only able to observe voting in a few neighborhoods in
the Zimbabwean capital, Harare. But State Department Deputy Spokesman
Tom Casey said it is clear, even from that small sampling, that the
election is being conducted in what he termed "a true climate of
intimidation and fear."
He says the Mugabe government, whatever
it may say about the election, will emerge from the "sham process" with
no legitimacy in the world community.
The comments were some
of the strongest to date from the Bush administration, which stepped up
its criticism of the Harare government after opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's departure from the race earlier this week amid a wave of
Spokesman Casey said the situation
has generated international concern and disappointment even among
longtime defenders of Mr. Mugabe in the southern African regional
grouping SADC, and the African Union.
He said he hopes the AU,
discussing the Zimbabwean situation in a weekend summit in Egypt, will
push for a political solution to the crisis:
"We would hope they
would continue to speak out in opposition to this completely fraudulent
electoral process that is now under way, and put their weight behind
international efforts to reach some kind of political solution," he
said. "At this point, I am not prepared to tell them what specific
measures they ought to take. But clearly we're looking for them to
speak out and do what they think is appropriate, and take what steps
they can to be able to put pressure on the regime to change its
Echoing remarks by Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice at the G8 foreign ministers meeting in Japan, Casey said the
United States will seek additional action in the U.N. Security Council
beyond the president's statement from the council earlier this week
condemning Zimbabwe election violence.
U.S. Ambassador to the
United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad completes his one-month term as
rotating Security Council president next Monday. But Casey said the
Bush administration does not see a need to push for further council
action by Monday, saying world concern about Zimbabwe will not suddenly
He also said there are "a lot of things" the United
States can do bilaterally, beyond targeted U.S. sanctions against the
Harare leadership already in place, to underline its displeasure over
the latest events.