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Tsvangirai Tells UN Envoy Zimbabwe Needs Peacekeepers

Zimbabwean opposition leader and presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai met Wednesday with United Nations envoy Haile Menkerios, sent to Harare by UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon to assess conditions and help achieve a free and fair election June 27.

Tsvangirai will face President Robert Mugabe in a presidential run-off ballot that day, but the election has been seriously marred by widespread and deadly political violence.

A senior Tsvangirai aide said the opposition leader told Menkerios, the U.N. deputy secretary general for political affairs, that a peace-keeping force is needed to put down the violence.

Tsvangirai conveyed the same message to members of the Pan-African Parliament observer mission with whom he also met Wednesday.

International Relations Secretary Eliphas Mukonoweshuro of Tsvangirai's dominant formation of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, told VOA that Menkerios made no response to Tsvangirai’s request that peacekeepers be sent to the country.

Menkerios, who is scheduled to leave the country on Friday, met with President Mugabe Tuesday but has not briefed the media on any of his discussions.

A Pan-African parliament source said the observers also met with Emmerson Mnangangwa of ZANU-PF. The source said 60 PAP observers will start deploying in the field Thursday.

PAP head of mission Marwick Khumalo said late Tuesday that his mission is disturbed by political figures who are “uttering” statements that may incite violence. President Mugabe has warned that his supporters may declare "war" if Tsvangirai wins the run-off.

Mukonoweshuro told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he does not expect the meetings with Menkerios or the African parliamentarians to bring major changes in the electoral environment with only nine days left until the ballot.

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