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Tsvangirai calls on African leaders for action

Latest update : 2008-06-25

Zimbabwe's opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai, who briefly left the refuge of the Dutch embassy in Harare, called on African leaders to take action as they meet in Swaziland on Wednesday.

Southern African nations on Wednesday met in Swaziland on the Zimbabwe crisis without South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, officials said.
  
King Mswati of Swaziland and Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete attended the meeting, said Tercy Simelane, spokesman for Swaziland Prime Minister Absalom Themba Dlamini.
  
Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos or his foreign minister Joao Miranda had been expected for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) security committee meeting, but were unable to attend, said Sam Mkhombe, secretary for the Swaziland king.
  
Mbeki is a mediator in the crisis between Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and the opposition, but his spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga told AFP that the South African leader would not be attending because he had not been invited.
  
SADC chief Tomaz Augusto Salomao, who was at the meeting, said Mbeki had in fact been invited, but had a discussion with the Swazi king instead of attending.
  
"President Mbeki was invited," he said. "He had a long conversation over the night with King Mswati, so we already have the output of President Mbeki."
  
A statement from the Tanzanian presidency on Tuesday had said Mbeki would attend the emergency meeting along with Kikwete and Zambian President and SADC chairman Levi Mwanawasa.
  
Mkhombe said Mwanawasa had not been invited because he is not part of the SADC security troika that includes Angola, Swaziland and Tanzania.
  
Mugabe's government has vowed to go ahead with a presidential run-off election on Friday despite the withdrawal of opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, citing political violence against his supporters.
  
Tsvangirai quit the race in an official letter to the electoral commission Tuesday.
  
The opposition pull-out has laid out a possible victory by default for veteran leader Mugabe, in power since 1980.
  
The SADC is facing a storm of criticism for its failure to act over Zimbabwe.
  
Several Western nations, including Britain and the United States, have urged

Date created : 2008-06-25

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