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Mugabe Spokesman: Zimbabwe's President Not Ill

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, right, chats to Prime Minister Morgan Tsavangirai during their end of year press conference at State House in Harare, saying they were dispelling rumors of disunity in the Government of National Unity, Dec. 20, 2010

A spokesman for Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has denied Mugabe is ill, after diplomats and political sources said he was hospitalized in Malaysia.

George Charamba told the Zimbabwean newspaper Newsday that President Mugabe is on "annual leave" in Malaysia and will return to Zimbabwe soon. The paper quoted a spokesman for Mugabe's ZANU-PF party who also said Mugabe is on leave.

A source close to ZANU-PF said Tuesday that Zimbabwe's president had a minor medical procedure in Malaysia. The source said Mugabe is well, would be back in Harare on Sunday and ready for a Cabinet meeting on February 9.

Earlier, diplomatic sources in Harare and South Africa said Mugabe underwent a "serious" operation in Kuala Lumpur that involved removal of his prostate.

The sources said Mugabe was ill but likely to return to Zimbabwe in about a week. They said a full recovery is expected.

Mugabe will be 87-years-old next month and has been in excellent health. He has consulted doctors and an eye specialist in Malaysia in the past.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the country won independence from Britain in 1980.