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Zambia Calls Emergency Regional Meeting to Discuss Zimbabwe Political Crisis

Zambia is calling an emergency meeting of regional leaders on Saturday to discuss Zimbabwe's post-election crisis.

The reaction by Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa Wednesday broke a regional silence that has followed Zimbabwe's March 29 elections.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the leaders of the 14-member Southern African Development Community must in his words "put their heads together" to resolve the election impasse. He told VOA that when your house is on fire, you need to depend on your neighbors.

The results of the presidential race still have not been announced, drawing international concern about possible vote rigging.

Zimbabwe's Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, said Wednesday there is no need for international intervention in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's High Court judge, Tendai Uchena, says he will rule Monday on the opposition's appeal for the election results.

Mr. Tsvangirai says he defeated President Robert Mugabe in the presidential race. But local monitors say Mr. Tsvangirai did not win enough votes to avoid a run-off election.

The opposition leader traveled to Botswana Wednesday on a regional tour to appeal to leaders to intervene in the crisis and prevent unrest in Zimbabwe.

His Movement for Democratic Change accuses the ruling party of carrying out a campaign of violence and intimidation to overturn Mr. Mugabe's first defeat since he took power in 1980.

Simba Makoni, an opposition candidate who came in third in the race, raised further concerns today about the electoral process. He said the delay is heightening tensions among Zimbabweans.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso also expressed concern Wednesday about the delays and lack of transparency in the presidential election process. He said the people of Zimbabwe want change, democracy and freedom.

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