United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke on Friday with African leaders and former United Nations chief Kofi Annan for their insight into how to end Zimbabwe's election crisis, her spokesperson said. Rice spoke to Botswana President Ian Khama, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday expressed alarm at reports of rising violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe and said he was consulting with African leaders on how to help resolve the country's election crisis. "I am deeply concerned at reports of rising levels of violence and intimidation" in Zimbabwe, he told reporters.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe faced mounting pressure on Thursday over presidential poll results as rival Morgan Tsvangirai ramped up his charm offensive ahead of a regional weekend summit on the crisis. While Mugabe has lain low at home, Tsvangirai has launched a diplomatic drive in recent days.
Zambia has ended negotiations with Standard Bank, Africa's largest bank by assets, to finance a $1,2-billion (R9,7-billion) oil-import deal after the two parties failed to reach agreement. Talks between the Zambian government and Stanbic Bank Zambia, a unit of Standard Bank, were initially expected to be concluded by mid-January.
A failed British bid to exclude Robert Mugabe from an upcoming European summit played straight into the hands of the Zimbabwean president, who gained instinctive support from his African peers, analysts said. Portugal said on Wednesday that invitations would be issued to all African states who would be free to decide themselves on the composition of their delegation.
A controversial document criticising Britain over the crisis in Zimbabwe, which was leaked at a Southern African regional summit last month, came from Harare, not South Africa, a senior Zambian official said on Wednesday. Media reports said South Africa blamed Britain for the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.