Sunday, July 6, 2008
Britain backs Zimbabwe sanctions
Former colonial power Great Britain endorsed the United States' call for tougher sanctions on Zimbabwe following last month's re-election of Robert Mugabe in an election marred by violence and fraud. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Sunday that South Africa and other nations should join an international campaign to place restrictions on Zimbabwe in light of the Mugabe government's conduct during the campaign, according to the Associated Press. Miliband apparently singled out South Africa because its leader, Thabo Mbeki, has had the responsibility of mediating Zimbabwe's political crisis on behalf of a regional African agency. Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who withdrew from the balloting because of violence against his supporters, and complained to other countries after the first round of voting in March, accuses Mbeki of favoring Mugabe. International observers agreed the runoff was not fair. Tsvangirai won the March balloting with 48 percent of the vote, not enough to avoid a runoff, after a vote count that took five weeks. Sanctions proposed by the United States would require countries to freeze the assets of Mugabe and 11 Zimbabwe officials, and restrict their travel out of the country. "There has got to be a clear mix of diplomacy and sanctions," Miliband said, according to the AP. Mbeki made an unannounced visit to Zimbabwe yesterday to meet with Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara, leader in Tsvangirai's party, but not with Tsvangirai.