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Zimbabwe Opposition Steps Up Diplomatic Offensive As Mugabe Digs in

Zimbabwean presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai and his opposition Movement for Democratic Change are stepping up a diplomatic campaign to pressure President Robert Mugabe to concede defeat in March elections and step down.

Tsvangirai in recent past days has met with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Ghanaian President John Kufuor and former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo. MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti has met with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former UN chief Kofi Annan, a veteran crisis manager.

In Liberia early this week, Ban reiterated that the Harare government must release the results of the March 29 presidential election. "It is unacceptable that the results of the presidential election in Zimbabwe are not being officially announced even after three weeks after the election," Ban said at the close of his Liberia visit.

"I will urge the Zimbabwean authorities and the election commission to release the results as soon as possible," he added, before heading to Burkina Faso.

Elsewhere, Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, delivered his toughest comments to date on the delay in releasing election results.

He told on Reuters in Berlin that withholding election results is "not acceptable. It's not helping the Zimbabwean people" exercise their democratic rights.

President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia condemned comments by the chairman of his ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy formation saying President Robert Mugabe should be forcibly removed from office. President Mwanawasa said the comments by Geoffrey Chumbwe risked undermining Zimbabwean-Zambian relations.

MDC top official Biti told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his party wants Africa to resolve the crisis.

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