Britain: Mugabe No Longer Legitimate Leader of Zimbabwe

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday that President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe should no longer be recognized as the country's legitimate leader, branding him the head of a regime holding power though violence.

Brown urged the United Nations, the African Union and the Southern African Development Community to convene to resolve the country's difficulties.

"The world is of one view — that the status quo cannot continue," Brown told lawmakers at the House of Commons.

Brown said the European Union will impose travel bans and financial sanctions on the "inner circle of the criminal cabal running the regime."

"The current government, with no parliamentary majority, having lost the first round of the presidential elections and holding power only because of violence and intimidation, is a regime that should not be recognized by anyone," Brown said.

He said he will raise Zimbabwe's plight with former South African President Nelson Mandela, who arrived in London Monday for a week of events to celebrate his 90th birthday.

Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the international community must urgently consider new financial sanctions on members of Mugabe's regime.

"The stage was set for the most rigged election in African history," said Miliband. "The failure is not of the opposition but of the government."

Tighter restrictions on international companies doing business with the Mugabe government and a ban on leading regime figures sending their children to be educated abroad could be proposed, Foreign Office Minister Mark Malloch-Brown said.

Malloch-Brown, the government's minister for Africa and Asia, said he wanted international bodies to recognize "Mugabe is no longer the rightful, legitimate leader of his country."

He said he understood why opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn from the presidential runoff. Tsvangirai pulled out of the race on Sunday, citing state-sponsored violence against supporters of his Movement for Democratic Change. The government says the election will go ahead on Friday.

During a House of Commons debate, several British lawmakers on Monday criticized South African President Thabo Mbeki's attempts to mediate between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

William Hague, foreign affairs spokesman for the main opposition Conservative party, said Mbeki must "live up to his regional responsibility."