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As Calls For Mugabe Departure Multiply, African Union Rules Out Use Of Force

Amid a chorus of voices calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down or be removed - among them that of U.S. President George Bush - a spokesman for the African Union on Tuesday dismissed the notion the organization might intervene militarily.

Salva Rweyemamu, spokesman for Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, currently chairman of the African Union, said the AU was committed to a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Echoing U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other world leaders, Mr. Bush said in a statement issued by the White House that "it is time for Robert Mugabe to go."

Noting that some African leaders have been breaking with traditional notions of solidarity and calling for Mr. Mugabe's resignation, Mr. Bush urged "others from the region to step up and join the growing chorus of voices calling for an end to Mugabe's tyranny."

Following similar comments Monday from French President Nicholas Sarkozy and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, the state-run Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe spokesman George Charamba as saying Britain and the United States are “dead set” on bringing about an invasion of Zimbabwe by unnamed proxies.

Tanzanian and AU spokesman Rweyemamu told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that dialogue is the only solution in Zimbabwe.

But political analyst Charles Mangongera says the AU is looking for the easy way out.

Elsewhere, diplomatic sources said former South African President Thabo Mbeki and officials of the Southern African Development Community are becoming impatient with the sources described as Mr. Mugabe’s intransigence in the stalled power-sharing process.

Sources close to the talks said Mr. Mugabe is refusing to revert to the original version of the power-sharing pact agreed on Sept. 11, which was modified by Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party before the formal signing of the accord Sept. 15. The changes give ZANU-PF more senators and does not mention the equitable distribution of governors and ambassadors.

Sources say this has delayed the publication in the official gazette of legislation to amend the constitution. The constitutional amendment is derived in significant measure from the Sept. 15 accord, whence the importance to parties to the talks of the alleged changes.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...