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The BBC's Caroline Thomsett
"Robert Mugabe is now coming under increasing international criticism"
 real 28k

Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar
"We are free to go anywhere and talk to whoever we want"
 real 28k

The BBC's Jon Leyne
"Roy Bennett has just reclaimed his farm in eastern Zimbabwe from the war veterans"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 13 June, 2000, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Zimbabwe criticised over election tactics
Prsident Robert Mugabe on the campaign trail
President Mugabe's tough tactics are prompting concern
The international community has expressed its concern over the violent and intimidating pre-election atmosphere in Zimbabwe.

The European Union said it was "seriously concerned" about obstacles thrown in its way by the Zimbabwe Government ahead of the 24-25 June poll.

In a statement released in Luxembourg, the EU said that conditions had been placed on the number and activities of EU and other observers in Zimbabwe "in a way which falls short of internationally accepted standards".

Zimbabwe has said it will allow only 120 EU observers to be deployed in the country instead of the 150 agreed earlier.

The deputy head of the EU mission in Zimbabwe, Tana de Zulueta, expressed surprise at the decision and said it was not part of electoral law.



If you [observers] speak to the workers, that is politics. That is interfering and we cannot accept that

Chenjerai Hunzvi, Veteran leader
Representatives of the United States, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand said they were concerned over "violence and intimidation" in the run-up to the poll.

In a statement after a meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister, Nicholas Goche, the envoys said they had "special concern with attacks on farm workers, teachers, health care workers, officials in rural areas, and political candidates".

Last week, the United Nations withdrew from its role as co-ordinator for the various observer teams after accusing the Zimbabwean Government of putting too many restrictions in its way.

At least 30 people, mostly members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, have been killed since the government lost a referendum in February over its land reform bill.

Farm visits

On Tuesday, President Robert Mugabe promised Commonwealth observers that they would be allowed to visit occupied white-owned farms.


Former Nigerian leader, General  Abdulsalami Abubakar
Abdulsalami Abubakar has to ensure free and fair poll
Mr Mugabe made the pledge during a meeting with former Nigerian President Abdulsalami Abubakar, who is chairman of the 44-member Commonwealth Observer Group monitoring the parliamentary elections.

The leader of the self-styled war veterans, Chenjerai Hunzvi, welcomed the decision, but warned the observers not to make contact with farmworkers.

"If you want to visit you are welcome, but just don't speak to the workers, because you will speak about land and that is a separate issue. It has nothing to do with this election," he said.

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See also:

07 Jun 00 | Africa
Mugabe eyes all white farms
26 Apr 00 | Africa
Who owns the land?
01 Jun 00 | Africa
Fifth white farmer killed
06 Jun 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe fear spreads
12 Jun 00 | Africa
$100 fee for Zimbabwe monitors
13 Jun 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe hampers EU observers
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