13 Jul 2008

Zimbabwe hails sanctions failure

7:33 am on 13 July 2008

Zimbabwe has hailed the failure of a UN Security Council resolution to impose new sanctions against its leaders.

Russia and China vetoed the resolution, saying the situation in Zimbabwe posed no threat to international security.

Britain says the veto was incomprehensible.

South Africa said sanctions would interfere with attempts to form a national unity government.

Measures proposed in the draft UN resolution had included an arms embargo and a travel ban for President Robert Mugabe and 13 of his allies.

There has been growing international criticism of Zimbabwe since the re-election of President Robert Mugabe in a run-off election boycotted by the opposition.

The resolution had the support of nine council members, the minimum required to pass in the 15-member council.

But a veto by any of the five permanent members is enough to defeat a resolution.

South Africa's representative Dumisani Kumalo said sanctions would interfere with dialogue that would lead to improvements in the humanitarian and economic situation.

Russia's ambassador Vitaly Churkin said sanctions would have taken the UN beyond its mandate.

China's Foreign Ministry's chief spokesman Liu Jianchao said sanctions would complicate conditions in Zimbabwe and would not help to encourage the various factions engage in political dialogue and negotiations.