13 Jul 2008

Britain topush EU for sanctions

12:07 pm on 13 July 2008

Britain is to push the European Union to impose tough new sanctions on Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, and other top officials of his government.

Despite a veto on a UN resolution to impose sanctions, Minister for Africa, Mark Malloch-Brown said Britain was determined to keep up the pressure on the Zimbabwean government:

Other officials say Britain will ask the EU to act against businesses allied to the Zimbabwean government and to tighten a travel ban on Mr Mugabe and his top aides.

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

Earlier at the UN Security Council, Russia and China vetoed the resolution to to impose new sanctions against Zimbabwe's leaders.

They say the situation in Zimbabwe posed no threat to international security.

Britain says the veto was incomprehensible.

South African voted against and said sanctions would interfere with attempts to form a national unity government.

Proposed measures 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.