Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Saturday, 12 April 2008 15:58 UK

Brown 'a tiny dot on this world'

Robert Mugabe in March 2008
Robert Mugabe will not be attending the summit in Zambia

Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe has called Prime Minister Gordon Brown "a little tiny dot on this world".

He was responding to Mr Brown's warning to Mr Mugabe that he is "appalled" at the latest developments in the country.

"Brown is the world? Sure, the world is losing patience, but I know Brown is a little tiny dot on this world," Mr Mugabe said.

Zimbabwean police have banned political rallies amid growing tension over the disputed presidential election.

'Completely unacceptable'

The prime minister said the world was running out of patience with President Mugabe, with results still not released almost two weeks after the election.

In a fresh appeal Mr Brown said: "We cannot wait any longer for the announcement of these results.

Gordon Brown
The eyes of the world are on Zimbabwe now
Gordon Brown

"It is in the interests of Zimbabwe's future that President Mugabe and his Zimbabwean electoral commission publish these results."

"I think it is important that we are vigilant about what happens after that. If there is to be a future election, that there is proper international monitoring of what is going on."

He added: "It is appalling if there is intimidation and violence. It is completely unacceptable and the whole eyes of the world are on Zimbabwe now."

Mr Brown was speaking ahead of a regional summit in Zambia to discuss the crisis.

Members of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) met in the Zambian capital Lusaka on Saturday.

In a further development, Foreign Secretary David Miliband sent a letter to shadow foreign secretary William Hague to update him on the situation.

He said: "It is clear that there was a majority of people who voted against President Mugabe, despite the conditions under which the vote was held."

He went on to estimate that approximately 14,000 British nationals in Zimbabwe would be eligible for consular assistance from the UK.

'No crisis'

Last weekend Mr Brown held private talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki, spending more than two hours trying to persuade him to use his influence to end the crisis.

Despite growing tensions, Mr Mbeki said there was "no crisis" in Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - which claims to have won the election - has called for a strike starting on Tuesday to put pressure on the authorities.

The ban on political rallies comes two days before a planned demonstration by the MDC in the capital Harare.

Country profile: Zimbabwe
29 Mar 08 |  Country profiles

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