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Zimbabwe Says West Exploiting Cholera to Undermine Mugabe


Kenya's prime minister has called for foreign troops to enter Zimbabwe to help end that country's deepening humanitarian crisis.

Speaking in Nairobi Sunday, Raila Odinga said the African Union must immediately authorize sending troops into Zimbabwe.

He said if no AU troops are available, the AU must allow the United Nations to send its own forces into Zimbabwe. Mr. Odinga said the foreign troops would, in his words, take over control of the country and ensure urgent humanitarian assistance to people dying of cholera and starvation.

Nearly 600 people have died from cholera in Zimbabwe since an outbreak that began in August. The country is also suffering from widespread food shortages and a breakdown of its health care system.

Elsewhere Sunday, a group of international statesmen said the current Zimbabwean government cannot lead the country out of its humanitarian crisis.

The Elders group, which includes former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is urging the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to engage more actively in helping Zimbabwe transition to a more inclusive power sharing government.

Power-sharing talks between the party of President Robert Mugabe and the opposition led by Morgan Tsvangirai have been stalled for months.

State-run media in Zimbabwe Sunday accused the West of using the cholera outbreak to rally support for regime change.

The editorial in the Sunday Mail newspaper says U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Race is using the health crisis to appeal for the toppling of President Robert Mugabe, "instead of marshaling humanitarian assistance."

Rice said Friday that it is well past time for Mr. Mugabe to leave office and urged African nations to take stronger action against his government.

The Mugabe government has repeatedly blamed the country's problems on Western sanctions that target the president's aides and allies. Critics blame Zimbabwe's collapse on mismanagement and repressive policies.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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