Zimbabwe hails Mbeki for blocking UN sanctions

July 12, 2008 12:00 am

, HARARE, July 12 – Zimbabwe’s government thanked Saturday the countries that blocked UN sanctions against its regime, and particularly South African President Thabo Mbeki for having refused to yield to Western pressure.

"We would like to thank countries that supported us at the United Nations and we would like to tell them that we would not dissapoint them as we would address our problems ourselves," Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said.

"We would like to thank President Thabo Mbeki, who is a leader par exellence as he has not yielded to international pressure and to the machinations of the West led by Britain and United States," Ndlovu told AFP.

China and Russia on Friday vetoed targeted UN sanctions on Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe over his disputed re-election.

South Africa, along with Libya and Vietnam, voted against the US draft which received the support of nine of the UN Security Council 15 members.

Russia said on Saturday that United Nations approval for sanctions on Zimbabwe would have been a "dangerous precedent" for interference in countries’ internal affairs.

UN sanctions "would have created a dangerous precedent, opening the way for Security Council interference in the internal affairs of states in connection with one or another political event… which is a gross violation of the UN charter," Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The comment came after the United States criticised Russia’s use of its veto at a vote on Zimbabwe in the Security Council on Friday.

Russia’s opposition is the latest in a series of tussles between Washington and Moscow over world affairs.

In its statement, Russia said it condemned violence and violations by both sides in Zimbabwe’s election period but judged that "the situation in Zimbabwe does not threaten either regional — let alone international — peace and security."

"We are convinced that the solution to Zimbabwe’s internal problems — and they certainly exist — should be sought through political dialogue between the Zimbabwean government and opposition," the statement said, adding that Russia’s position was supported by others in Africa.

On Friday the US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Russia’s position was "disturbing" and raised questions about Moscow’s "reliability as a G8 partner."


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