Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe left the sanctuary of the Dutch Embassy in Harare Wednesday to hold a news conference calling for UN peacekeepers in his politically troubled nation. Such a force, he said, "would separate the people from their oppressors and ... shield the democratic process for which Zimbabwe yearns." But the Electoral Commission announced that Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the presidential runoff Friday had been filed too late and cannot be recognized. It said the runoff will be held as scheduled.Skip to next paragraph
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Leaders of other southern African countries met in emergency session Wednesday to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe, amid perceptions that they alone can influence developments there. There was no early word on concrete decisions, but analysts said it was significant that South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been the designated moderator between Zimbabwe and its neighbors, did not attend. Mbeki has been criticized for being too soft on his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe.
Israel closed border crossings into the Gaza Strip Wednesday, saying they'd be reopened only "in accordance with security considerations." But a Palestinian source said he had learned that leaders of the Jewish state told Egypt that the crossings would be reopened Thursday to allow for delivery of vital supplies. Israel took the step in retaliation for the firing of rockets from Gaza Tuesday that wounded two people and breached the cease-fire that began late last week But while Hamas, which controls Gaza, said it wanted the truce preserved, Islamic Jihad militants vowed to retaliate for the shooting of a Palestinian farmer near the border.