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South African Ruling Party Official Urges UN Role In Zimbabwe Crisis

A top official of South Africa's ruling African National Congress party Tuesday voiced skepticism about regional mediation efforts in Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis and said the matter should be put before the United Nations Security Council.

ANC National Executive Committee member Kader Asmal told journalists in Cape Town that he "detested" what was happening in Zimbabwe and that more drastic action was were needed. Said Asmal: "We need to go the Security Council.”

Asmal acknowledged that this would not be a popular idea in Southern Africa, but said “what else can one do when you are dealing with someone who has no respect for you?” This was clearly a reference to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

The ANC official added that he did not believe Mr. Mugabe should seek re-election. He urged Pretoria to ensure that the Zimbabwean general and presidential elections set for March 2008 will be free and fair. Asmal added: "The mistake is to say that elections legitimize. It is the process that legitimizes."

National Director Elizabeth Sidiropoulos of the Institute of International Affairs in South Africa told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the sentiments expressed by Asmal were widely shared within the ANC and beyond.

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