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EU Adds to Pressure on Zimbabwe for Election Results

The European Commission has said further delay in releasing Zimbabwe's presidential election results is unacceptable. As Tendai Maphosa reports from London the EU call is part of the ever-growing chorus for the result to be published without further delay.

In Brussels, EU spokesman John Clancy said the publication of the results is needed now. He added that the European Commission, along with the rest of the international community continues to watch and wait for action.

"The publication of the results is also in the interests of the Zimbabwe people, who want democracy and they simply want better living conditions. So further delays are in our viewpoint are unacceptable and will just be considered as stalling the democratic process," he said.

Clancy's comments follow British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's criticism of Zimbabwe's authorities Wednesday during a U.N. Security Council meeting. He openly accused President Robert Mugabe of stealing the election. Mr. Brown said having seen the results at polling stations, it is clear Mr. Mugabe lost.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also repeated his call for the results to be released.

He warned that unless there is a transparent solution to the deadlock, the situation could deteriorate further, with serious implications for the people of Zimbabwe. Mr. Ban again offered U.N. assistance, especially if a second round of "fair and transparent" elections if needed.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Thursday for Zimbabwe's neighbors to press for an end to the post-election political crisis. Rice called the last few years of Mugabe's rule in Zimbabwe, "an abomination," and said its up to that country whether he should step down.

In South Africa, government communications chief Themba Maseko described the situation as dire. He said there is a need for further talks. Maseko said the delay in releasing the results is cause for great concern.

"South Africa, like the rest of the world, is concerned about the delay in the release of the results and the anxiety that this was generating," he said. "We are keen to see a speedy release of the election results as soon as possible."

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change's leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims victory over President Robert Mugabe who has led the country since independence in 1980. He has accused Mugabe of delaying in order to rig the results.

The ruling ZANU-PF and some independent observers say Tsvangirai did not get the more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a second round run-off. Zimbabwe's government accuses the opposition leader of plotting with former colonial power Britain to bring about regime change.

Meanwhile, Britain's Foreign Office issued a statement advising against all but essential travel to Zimbabwe, citing the continuing tension surrounding the election and the deployment of uniformed forces (police and military) and war veterans around the country. The statement described the situation in Zimbabwe as "unpredictable, volatile and could deteriorate quickly, without warning."