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Bush calls for end of Mugabe's rule

US President George W Bush called on African leaders to push for an end to Robert Mugabe's rule in Zimbabwe.

world Updated: Dec 10, 2008 10:48 IST

US President George W Bush on Tuesday called on African leaders to push for an end to Robert Mugabe's rule in Zimbabwe, saying it is time for the Zimbabwean president to step down.

"As my administration has made clear, it is time for Robert Mugabe to go," said Bush in a statement issued by the White House on Tuesday.

Bush praised some African leaders who had been "bravely speaking out" to urge Mugabe to step down, and called on "others from the region to step up and join the growing chorus of voices".

"The United States will continue to work with our partners around the world to halt the violence and stem the humanitarian disaster that the Mugabe regime is inflicting on its people," said Bush.

"We stand ready to help rebuild Zimbabwe once a legitimate government has been formed that reflects the results of the March elections," he added.

Bush's remarks came one day after European countries made a similar call.

"It has been agreed among all the 27 foreign ministers of the EU (European Union) that time has arrived for Mugabe to step down," EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana announced at a press conference during the first day talks of the group in Brussels.

The EU has also added Mugabe, as well as 10 others, to a list of 160 Zimbabweans banned from visiting the bloc, as the southern African nation has plunged into a deep political crisis with spreading cholera and food shortages plaguing its poor population.

First Published: Dec 10, 2008 10:38 IST