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UN chief to push Zimbabwe talks

Ban Ki-moon (3 March 2008)
The five-day UN summit will attempt to address spiralling food prices

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, says he will hold talks on Zimbabwe with a number of African leaders on the sidelines of a UN summit in Ghana.

Mr Ban said he and the leaders at the talks in Accra would discuss "how to get developments there back to normal".

He was speaking hours after Kofi Annan, his predecessor, urged African leaders to do more to address the crisis.

Three weeks after polls were held, the presidential result is still unknown. Some votes are now being recounted.

'Serious crisis'

Speaking ahead of the five-day UN trade and development summit, which starts on Sunday, Mr Ban said in addition to Zimbabwe, the problems in Ivory Coast, Darfur and Kenya were also high on the agenda.

He said the conference could not have come at a more "crucial time", with soaring food prices posing a threat to the stability of developing countries.

Kofi Annan on the crisis in Zimbabawe

Earlier, former UN Secretary General, Mr Annan had asked what African governments were doing to resolve what he called a "dangerous situation" in Zimbabwe following last month's contested poll.

"On the question of Zimbabwe there has been substantial international attention," he said.

"The question which has been posed is: Where are the Africans? Where are their leaders and the countries in the region, what are they doing?

"It is a rather dangerous situation. It's a serious crisis with impact beyond Zimbabwe."

Mr Annan made his comments to reporters in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, where he held talks with Zimbabwean opposition leaders on Friday.

'Ballot stuffing'

Three weeks after polls were held, the Zimbabwean authorities have yet to release the results of the presidential election, which the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai insists he won.

HAVE YOUR SAY
I predict that the situation will end up like Kenya. Mugabe will be encouraged by the African Union to form a national unity government
Frank Hartry, South Africa

The parliamentary vote was won by Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

But the election commission is conducting a recount in 23 of 210 constituencies that could overturn that result which saw President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF lose its majority for the first time since independence in 1980.

The MDC's secretary general, Tendai Biti, said the party would not accept any recount in respect of parliamentary seats "because ballot boxes have been stuffed".

"Those ballot boxes have become pregnant and reproduced," he said.

The government has dismissed the accusation of tampering.

It is thought the recount may also lead to a run-off vote in the presidential poll.

Mr Tsvangirai, who is adamant he won the election outright, has fled the country, saying he fears for his life.

His party has said Mr Tsvangirai will not contest a run-off unless certain conditions are met - such as a secure environment, with thorough international monitoring.




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