US urges Zim to allow election observers

"The United States sincerely hopes that Zimbabwe will hold peaceful, credible presidential and parliamentarian elections this year," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters.

"We believe the credibility of these elections would be enhanced if a broad range of international monitors, led by the Southern African Development Community (SADC)… were credited to observe."

Zimbabwe's constitutional court ruled last week that President Robert Mugabe must organise a vote no later than July 31.

Mugabe has said he will abide by the ruling despite calls by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to allow time for key reforms before the vote.

Psaki said allowing international observers "would help to verify that the elections are truly representative of the will of the Zimbabwean people."


The SADC had been due to meet on Sunday to discuss Zimbabwe's readiness to hold elections, but the summit was abruptly called off on Thursday and postponed to an unknown date.

The polls aim to end an uneasy SADC-brokered unity government formed between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in 2009 after disputed elections that turned deadly. – Sapa-AFP

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