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Canberra Questions Planned Australian Cricket Tour Of Zimbabwe

The Australian government has hinted that it may step up pressure on the country's cricket authorities to cancel a planned September tour of Zimbabwe by the national team over Harare's apparent use of violence to neutralize its political opposition.

Reports said Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer has indicated he'll take the matter up with Cricket Australia and the International Cricket Council, though not until the World Cup competition now taking place in the West Indies has ended.

But former Zimbabwean cricketer and political dissident Henry Olonga said he doubts Australia will make good on its threat to cancel the September tour due to the ICC's dogged resistance to the cancellation of tours on political grounds.

Olonga wore a black armband at the 2003 cricket World Cup to protest the Zimbabwe government's alleged human rights violations. He told reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that an Australian cancellation, if carried through, would boost world awareness the human rights crisis in Zimbabwe.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...