Mbeki: Don't Worry About Zimbabwe

As African conference begins, Mugabe ally plays down crisis
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2008 5:11 PM CDT
President Robert Mugabe, right, welcomes South African President Thabo Mbeki, left, of South Africa at Harare International Airport, Saturday, April, 12, 2008.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – South Africa's president told African leaders today not to worry about Zimbabwe's disputed election, Reuters reports. "I wouldn't describe that as a crisis," President Thabo Mbeki said at a summit of 14 leaders in Zambia, assembled to free Zimbabwe from its political deadlock. "It's a normal electoral process in Zimbabwe." But Zambia's president urged them to act, saying they "can no longer continue to stand by and do nothing."

Mbeki told the Southern African Development Community members to wait for Zimbabwe to release its election results. But United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday that Zimbabwe "now stands on the brink" and urged African leaders to find "a peaceful and just solution." Robert Mugabe, who skipped the summit, said he and Mbeki are "very good friends, very good brothers."