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U.S. State Department Says Zimbabweans Expected to Determine Their Own Future

Heather Nauert

United States State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert described the resignation of Robert Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe as a "historic opportunity and historic moment," for its citizens.

Addressing journalists at a press briefing, Tuesday, Nauert said Mr. Mugabe's resignation is a clear indication of the will of the people.

"The people of Zimbabwe have firmly voiced their desire for a new era to bring to an end Zimbabwe's isolation and allow the country to rejoin the international community," said Nauert.

Nauert said the U.S. is unsure what arrangements will be made for governing Zimbabwe in the short term. But she says there should ultimately be "free and fair elections."

"The future of Zimbabwe though has to be determined by the people of that country, we look forward to and hope for free and fair elections."

She added that the U.S. is urging "unwavering respect for the rule of law and for established democratic practices."

When pressed, Nauert declined to say whether the process that led to Mugabe's ouster constituted as a coup, adding that Mugabe ultimately decided to resign after impeachment proceedings were called for.

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