German chancellor says Zimbabwe election a farce, urges sanctions
Merkel declares Zimbabwe election a farce
Berlin -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the presidential run-off elections in Zimbabwe as a farce and called on the African Union to draw the necessary consequences, in remarks published on Sunday.
"The recent elections in Zimbabwe were a farce," Merkel told the Monday edition of the national German daily, Die Welt, adding that she would press for more stringent European Union sanctions on the regime of President Robert Mugabe.
"Mugabe has lost all legitimacy as president," the chancellor said.
"I expect that the African Union (AU) will draw the necessary conclusions," Merkel said. The AU meets in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt on Monday.
The suffering of the Zimbabwean population had to be brought to an end, she said.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared on Sunday that Mugabe had won the election in which he was the sole candidate.
On Saturday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier condemned Friday's elections in similar terms to Merkel.
Steinmeier said the other foreign ministers in the Group of Eight (G8) took a similar view.
He welcomed the decision by the UN Security Council to discuss Zimbabwe in the weeks ahead and said the European Union would consider what additional steps it could take.
South Africa, Zimbabwe's most powerful neighbour, late Friday blocked an attempt in the Security Council to have the election declared illegitimate.
The EU has imposed travel sanctions on Mugabe and his cabinet but has drawn back from economic sanctions on the country as a whole for fear of exacerbating the plight of the population.