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Britain: Mugabe Must Quit as Zimbabwe President

Britain has called on the president of its former colony, Zimbabwe, to step down, saying the president has made a power-sharing deal with the opposition "impossible."

Britain's Africa Minister Mark Malloch Brown said Monday power-sharing is not a dead issue. But he said Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has become "an absolute impossible obstacle to achieving it."

Brown said he agreed with the U.S. assessment of the situation in Zimbabwe.

The top U.S. envoy for Africa said Sunday the U.S. has lost confidence that Mr. Mugabe is capable of sharing power.

Jendayi Frazer described Mr. Mugabe as a man who has, in her words, "lost it," and is out of touch with reality.

Both Brown and Frazer are urging Zimbabwe's neighbors to increase pressure on Mr. Mugabe.

However, South Africa maintains that a unity government between Mr. Mugabe's party and the opposition remains Zimbabwe's best hope for change.

Mr. Mugabe finished second in Zimbabwe's March presidential election but won the June runoff after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out, saying scores of his supporters had been killed.

The president and Tsvangirai signed an agreement in September to form a unity government. However, the deal has stalled over disagreements about how to fill key Cabinet posts.

The southern African country is battling a deadly cholera epidemic amid food shortages, runaway inflation and a general breakdown in government services.

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