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Zambia/European Union - 2002-02-22

Relations between Zambia and the European Union have been strained since an E-U observer team reported that Zambia's December 27th elections were not free and fair.

President Levy Mwanawasa has said he would not accept the report. At the same time, he says his government is eager to normalize ties.

The President discussed E-U relations in Lusaka as he accepted the credentials of the new Swedish Ambassador. Mr. Mwanawasa says any grievances stemming from the December poll are being dealt with in a court of law. He says these issues should not block improved relations with the E-U.

The E-U election observers said Zambia's electoral commission did not live up to expectations in its handling of the local, parliamentary and presidential ballot.

Zambian opposition parties say they have evidence of fraud by President Mwanawasa's team. The court is to begin hearing arguments in the case February 26th.