ABC News’ Richard Coolidge and Luis Martinez Report: With a month left to govern, the Bush administration is ratcheting up the tough talk and the pressure in a bid to help Zimbabwe and its people out of its political, economic and health crises.
In announcing a change of policy over the weekend, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer announced, "We have lost confidence in the power-sharing deal being a success with Mugabe in power. He has lost touch with reality."
The government has been deadlocked after an arrangement was formed with strongman Robert Mugabe remaining president and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai – who won the original election last March – as Prime Minister. But, negotiations over who would get to control what ministries – particularly the Defense and Home Affairs (i.e. police) Ministries – have led to a stalemate.
On Friday, the 84-year old President was defiant, declaring, "I will never, never, never, never surrender. Zimbabwe is mine."
Secretary Rice upped the ante today in an interview with Agence France-Presse, saying, "I am going to consult with our allies, particularly with some of our African allies and with the British and we will see…But I think it high time that the international community step up the sanctions on this regime."
Showing support for the citizens of the country, she continued, "I don’t know how much longer people can let this go on, claiming that it is somehow an internal matter. It is not…It is clearly having caused problems across the border and even if it were an internal matter, what is happening to the Zimbawean people is unconscionable."
Yesterday on "Meet the Press," she re-iterated that Mugabe cannot last.
"The regime of Robert Mugabe has got to go. You have a cholera epidemic there. You have a humanitarian disaster in terms of food. You have the goons of the Mugabe regime going around and detaining people and frightening people, terrorizing people. Again, the international community in that circumstance needs to act."