Wednesday, July 2, 2008

US Resolution to Sanction Mugabe's Regime

A US draft resolution would slap a UN arms embargo on Zimbabwe as well as financial and travel sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and 11 of his aides, according to the text seen by AFP Wednesday.

The text also demands that the Harare government "begin without delay a substantive dialogue between the parties with the aim of arriving at a peaceful solution that reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people as expressed by the March 29 (first-round presidential) elections."

The US draft would require all member states to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to Zimbabwe "of arms or related material of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts."

The text, not yet formally introduced in the 15-member Security Council, would also impose a travel ban and an assets freeze on Mugabe, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and nine others for their role in abetting the state-sponsored violence against the opposition, repressing human rights or undermining democracy.

The draft is virtually certain to be watered down as South Africa, the main mediator in Zimbabwe's domestic political crisis, and veto-wielding China, a key ally of Harare, oppose its tough provisions.

US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad said he was continuing consultations on the text Wednesday, adding: "We should be in a position to introduce something (formally) relatively soon."

Khalilzad also told reporters that the Security Council would hear a briefing on Zimbabwe developments next Tuesday.

The US delegation proposed that UN Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro, who attended the just-ended African Union (AU) summit in Egypt, and UN troubleshooter Haile Menkerios, who unsuccessfully sought to mediate an end to the Zimbabwe crisis last month, brief the council.

But Vietnam's Ambassador to the UN Le Luong Minh, who chairs the council this month, said there was no agreement yet among members on the format of that briefing. "There was consensus on the need for such a briefing or meeting, but there was no agreement yet on the format," he added.

The Vietnamese envoy also stressed that the US draft resolution has not yet been formally submitted to the council.

Tuesday AU leaders capped their summit in Sharm el-Sheikh by adopting a resolution calling for a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe with the opposition.

But Wednesday, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai rejected calls to form a national unity government, saying it would not solve the country's crisis after Mugabe's widely condemned one-man election.

He said such an arrangement would merely accommodate Mugabe after much of the world had labeled his regime illegitimate.

Read it all here.

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