African Press International (API)

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Fury as Zimbabwe sanctions vetoed – UK saddened, while Mugabe rejoices

Posted by African Press International on July 13, 2008

Written By:claire wanja/bbc

Caption: UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said their veto was incomprehensible.

Britain and the US have condemned Russia and China for vetoing a draft UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe’s leaders.

UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said their veto was incomprehensible, especially as Russia had earlier suggested it backed tougher action.

The measures had included an arms embargo and a travel ban for Robert Mugabe and 13 of his key allies.

Zimbabwe’s UN ambassador said the UK and US had come up with flimsy reasons.

Boniface Chidyausiku said he was happy to see what he called the machinations of the two failing.

There has been growing international criticism of Zimbabwe since the re-election of Mr Mugabe in a run-off boycotted by the opposition.

The opposition’s Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change party say they had faced a campaign of violence by Mugabe supporters, which left dozens dead and thousands injured and forced from their homes.

Russia and China said they opposed the resolution because the situation in Zimbabwe did not threaten international stability.

UK ambassador says the Security Council has failed Zimbabwe’s people

The US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Russia’s veto raised “questions about its reliability as a G8 partner”.

Mr Miliband said Russia used its veto despite a promise by President Dmitry Medvedev to support the resolution when it was discussed at this week’s summit of the G8 group of industrialised nations.

The UK ambassador said after the vote that the UN had failed in its duty.

“The people of Zimbabwe need to be given hope that there is an end in sight to their suffering,” said Sir John Sawers. “The Security Council today has failed to offer them that hope.”

However, Russia’s ambassador Vitaly Churkin said sanctions would have taken the UN beyond its mandate.

China’s Foreign Ministry’s chief spokesman Liu Jianchao said sanctions would complicate conditions in Zimbabwe and would not help to encourage the various factions engage in political dialogue and negotiations.

South Africa – which is hoping that President Mugabe and the opposition can reach a deal on a power-sharing – voted against sanctions.

The resolution would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and financial and travel restrictions on President Mugabe and 13 of his top officials.

It also called for a UN special envoy for Zimbabwe to be appointed.

The resolution had the support of nine council members, the minimum required to pass in the 15-member council.

But the veto of any of the five permanent members is enough to defeat a resolution.




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