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Page last updated at 15:07 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 16:07 UK

Zambia leader undergoes surgery

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa (file photo)
Levy Mwanawasa remains in intensive care in Paris

Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa is stable after undergoing an operation to improve his breathing, his deputy says.

"His Excellency... is recovering satisfactorily," said Vice-President Rupiah Banda.

Mr Mwanawasa, 59, was flown to a military hospital in Paris after suffering a stroke at the recent African Union summit in Egypt.

Reports in South Africa that he had died were last week angrily denied by Zambian officials.

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki announced a minute's silence at a public meeting, before retracting his comments.

Mr Mwanawasa remains in intensive care in the Percy military hospital in Paris, Mr Banda said.

He won a second term in 2006, having campaigned on his economic record which has won him acclaim from Western donors.

His health has always been an issue during his presidency. In April 2006 he suffered a minor stroke four months before general elections.

Mr Mwanawasa has been one of the strongest African critics of Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe won a disputed run-off election last month.

He was taken to hospital during an African Union summit in Egypt that was discussing the Zimbabwean crisis.


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