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Critics Seek Action Against Mugabe Government

  • VOA News

Critics of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe are renewing calls for international action against his government.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the African Union should deploy troops in Zimbabwe to help resolve the crisis there.

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said a "very good argument" could be made for an international force to restore peace in the country following its violent run-off election. Speaking to British radio, Tutu called on the African Union to send what he called a powerful signal by unanimously rejecting a new Mugabe administration.

But African Union officials said today that sending troops or peacekeepers to Zimbabwe is not likely. AU foreign ministers meeting in Egypt Saturday called for dialogue between Zimbabwe's government and the opposition.

AU officials also said Zimbabwe is not officially on the agenda of the African Union summit thatis set to take place Monday in Egypt. Mr. Mugabe has indicated he will attend that meeting.

In Beijing, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought China's support for an armsembargo on Zimbabwe. Speaking to reporters, she said it makes sense to deny the Zimbabwean government the means to attack its own people.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yan Jiechi did not comment on the U.S. proposal. He said the most pressing task is to stabilize Zimbabwe.

US President George Bush vowed Saturday to take new action against Zimbabwe's government for what he called a "sham election" that ignored the will of the people.

Zimbabwean officials reject that characterization. A spokesman for Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party (Bright Matonga) told al-Jazeera television today that "Zimbabweans have spoken" by voting overwhelmingly to re-elect Mr. Mugabe.

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