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US, Britain Seek Security Council Debate On Zimbabwe, S. Africa Opposed

The United States and Britain said Tuesday they intend to bring Zimbabwe's post-election crisis before the United Nations Security Council for debate, despite moves by South Africa to block discussion of the delay in releasing presidential election results.

U.S. President George Bush and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon discussed the post-election impasse in Zimbabwe, the White House said Tuesday. It said the two leaders agreed that the situation must be resolved peacefully and soon.

But South African diplomats in New York argued that Zimbabwe is not on the agenda and must be handled by the Southern African region. Heads of state of the Southern African Development Community met in summit on Saturday and Sunday and urged Zimbabwean electoral authorities to release the election results "expeditiously."

South African President Thabo Mbeki drew widespread criticism after he declared on a stop in Harare on his way to the SADC summit that Zimbabwe was not in a crisis. He made the comment standing side by side with President Robert Mugabe.

But the national working committee of Mr. Mbeki's African National Congress party, in an implicit criticism of his longstanding approach of quiet diplomacy in Harare, called the situation "dire" and said it was negatively affecting the entire region.

Over a million Zimbabweans have emigrated to South Africa seeking political asylum or economic salvation as economic disintegration at home accelerates.

Researcher Chris Maroleng of South Africa’s Institute of Security Studies told reporter Blessing Zulu hat Mr. Mbeki’s stance on Harare has been counter-productive.

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