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Britain: Zim Poll Results Need Independent Verification

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague leaves after attending a Cabinet meeting at Number 10 Downing Street in London, March 12, 2013.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague says Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe’s re-election could not be deemed credible without an independent investigation into allegations of voting irregularities.

Hague told Reuters news agency that "I strongly believe that an independent investigation of any allegations of election irregularities would be required for the election result to be deemed credible,"

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week abandoned his court challenge of Mr. Mugabe’s victory alleging bias in the judiciary.

Hague is quoted by Reuters as saying he was "extremely concerned" at the decision to abandon that challenge, saying he was disappointed that the Southern African Development Community had chosen to endorse the election result.

Australia has called for a re-run of the polls warning the country will not lift sanctions against the African country unless free and fair polls are held.

Washington has also condemned the elections saying they were flawed.

A meeting of European Union foreign ministers Wednesday agreed that sanctions against Zimbabwe would remain suspended for another six months despite an appeal by SADC leaders for the measures to me removed immediately.

In his inaugural speech Thursday that lasted more than an hour, Mr. Mugabe lashed out at western governments that have refused to accept the outcome of the July 31 poll, dismissing them as “the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mould”.

International relations expert, Clifford Mashiri, a former Zimbabwe diplomat in Ethiopia, said Britain’s move is positive.