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The U.S. urged Zimbabwe’s leaders to hold “free, fair and inclusive elections” as it offered congratulations on the resignation of long-time president Robert Mugabe.

“Tonight marks an historic moment for Zimbabwe.

“We congratulate all Zimbabweans, who raised their voices and stated peacefully and clearly that the time for change was overdue,” a statement from the U.S. embassy in Harare said on Tuesday.

“Zimbabwe has an opportunity to set itself on a new path. Through that process, the U.S. urges unwavering respect for the rule of law and for established democratic practices.”

“Whatever short-term arrangements the government may establish, the path forward must lead to free, fair and inclusive elections.

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“The people of Zimbabwe, free to assemble peacefully without undue interference and to voice their opinions without fear, choose their own leaders.”

Also in London, Mugabe’s resignation as president of Zimbabwe provides the opportunity to “forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule,” British Prime Minister, Theresa May, said.

“In recent days we have seen the desire of the Zimbabwean people for free and fair elections and the opportunity to rebuild the country’s economy under a legitimate government,” she said in a statement Tuesday.

“As Zimbabwe’s oldest friend, we will do all we can to support this, working with our international and regional partners to help the country achieve the brighter future it so deserves.”

Mr. Mugabe, 93, had been Zimbabwe’s only leader since gaining independence in 1980.

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