New York - The UN Security Council held Tuesday its first discussion on the unresolved presidential elections in Zimbabwe, with France saying that, if compelled, a UN fact-finding mission should visit the African nation.
The meeting on Zimbabwe was requested by the United States, Britain and France to hear a briefing from UN officials on the situation. Council members remained divided on whether the body should take action to break the impasse in the March 29 elections caused by Zimbabwe's refusal to release results of the first round of vote for weeks.
"We think that the situation there is still developing, but not in the good direction," French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert told reporters before the council meeting.
Ripert said the government of President Robert Mugabe should make public and accept the March 29 elections' results because, he said, "The people of Zimbabwe have expressed themselves."
Ripert said a UN fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe remained a "possibility," but he said France for the moment would rely on regional organization such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to resolve the crisis.
Some council members, including South Africa, said Zimbabwe's elections are an internal matter and is not a threat to peace and security in the region. Therefore, the council cannot inject itself into the crisis. The Western nations on the council disagreed, saying it has caused massive displacement of civilians and created instability in the region.
Diplomats cautioned that the 15-nation council's discussion on Zimbabwe was the first step and would not necessarily lead to an concrete measure. (dpa)
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