A UN resolution to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe for holding a violent June 27 presidential poll boycotted by the opposition candidate was vetoed in the Security Council on Friday by Russia and China.
The resolution would have imposed an arms embargo on the southern African country and financial and travel restrictions on Robert Mugabe and 13 other officials. It would also have called for a UN special envoy for Zimbabwe to be appointed. Nine countries voted for the resolution, five – including veto-holding Russia and China – opposed it and one abstained.
Boniface Chidyausiku, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the UN said Robert Mugabe is “happy” at the veto of a draft resolution. “President Mugabe is happy to know that the United Nations is still a body where there’s equal sovereignty of every member of the United Nations and there are checks and balances within the system that protects the weak from
the powerful,” Chidyausiku said.
The result represented a failure by the Western bloc to induce Russia and China at least to abstain because of the gravity of the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Opponents of the resolution, who also included South Africa, Libya and Vietnam, argued that the situation was not a threat to international peace and security worthy of a council resolution. They said talks in South Africa between Zimbabwe’s ruling and opposition parties should be given a chance.
Voting for the resolution were the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, Croatia, Burkina Faso, Panama and Costa Rica. Indonesia abstained.
South Africa welcomed the decision of the United Nations Security Council not to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa today said SA voted against the draft resolution on Friday, in accordance with the African Union Summit of head of states and government decision to “encourage President Robert Mugabe and the leader of the MDC to honour their commitment to initiate dialogue with view to promote peace, stability, democracy and reconciliation of the Zimbabwean people”.
He said South Africa was facilitating talks between Zanu-PF, the MDC of Morgan Tsvangarai and MDC of Arthur Mutambara, in Pretoria.