Tuesday, July 22, 2008

U.S. Pushes U.N. Sanctions on Zimbabwe and Mugabe

Published: July 4, 2008

UNITED NATIONS — Seeking to force President Robert Mugabe into negotiations with the opposition, the United States on Thursday formally proposed United Nations Security Council sanctions on Zimbabwe. The proposed sanctions include an international arms embargo and punitive measures against the 14 people the United States deemed most responsible for undermining Zimbabwe’s presidential election through violence.

Aside from Mr. Mugabe, those singled out in the draft resolution to be subject to an international travel ban and a freeze on personal assets include the chiefs of the various branches of the armed forces, the governor of the central bank, the head of the Justice Department and the presidential spokesman.

“We want to respond to the situation and respond in a way that encourages a move towards resolving the legitimacy crisis without negatively impacting the people of Zimbabwe, who are suffering a great deal at the hands of the regime,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States ambassador to the United Nations.

The United States expects to bring the resolution to a vote as early as next week, he said. The mood around the Council chamber was noncommittal, with even previously outspoken opponents to further United Nations interference, particularly South Africa, saying they would have to consult with their governments.

Although passage is not assured, the United States has apparently mustered enough support to garner the 9 of 15 votes needed to approve the resolution. China and Russia, which have generally supported the position that this is an African problem that ought to be dealt with locally, could still veto it. Russia is considered unlikely to do so, diplomats noted, and China may feel pressured to avoid vetoing sanctions because criticism of its own human rights record in the prelude to the Olympics.

Full Story: NY Times World