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China and Russia rescued Mugabe

China and Russia vetoed a United States-sponsored United Nations Security Council resolution that would have imposed a comprehensive arms embargo on Zimbabwe and subjected 14 senior members of the Zimbabwean government most responsible for the campaign of violence against the political opposition to an international asset freeze and travel ban.

Nine delegations voted in favour of the resolution: the United States, Britain, France, Belgium, Italy, Panama, Burkina Faso, and Costa Rica and Croatia.

Five delegations voted against: Russia, China, Viet Nam, South Africa and Libya.

Indonesia abstained.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08USUNNEWYORK621, UN: RUSSIA, CHINA VETO ZIMBABWE SANCTIONS

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08USUNNEWYORK621

2008-07-12 02:53

UNCLASSIFIED

USUN New York

VZCZCXRO5430

PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO

DE RUCNDT #0621/01 1940253

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

P 120253Z JUL 08

FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4588

INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 USUN NEW YORK 000621

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR IO, AF

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ETTC UNSC ZI

SUBJECT: UN: RUSSIA, CHINA VETO ZIMBABWE SANCTIONS

RESOLUTION

 

REF: USUN 619

 

1. (U) On July 11 Russia and China vetoed the adoption of the

U.S.-authored draft Security Council resolution that would

have imposed a comprehensive arms embargo on Zimbabwe and

subjected fourteen senior members of the Zimbabwean

government most responsible for the campaign of violence

against the political opposition, including President Robert

Mugabe, to an international asset freeze and travel ban.

Nine delegations voted in favor of the resolution (the U.S.,

UK, France, Belgium, Italy, Panama, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica,

and Croatia), five delegations voted against (Russia, China,

Viet Nam, South Africa and Libya), and Indonesia abstained.

Australia, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Italy, France, Liberia,

the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sierra Leone, the U.S. and the

UK co-sponsored the text.

 

——————————————— —–

ZIMBABWE IMPUGNS UK MOTIVES

——————————————— —–

 

2. (U) Zimbabwe PermRep B.G. Chidyausiku, in a statement

before the vote, asserted that Zimbabwe was “at peace with

itself and its neighbors,” and posed no threat to

international peace and security. The resolution was

therefore “a clear abuse of Chapter VII of the UN Charter.”

Chidyausiku said that reports on the violence in Zimbabwe had

been “over-dramatized,” and the proposed sanctions were “an

expression of imperialist conquest” on the part of the UK and

its allies, who viewed the results of the elections as

unfavorable to UK interests.   Chidyausiku asserted that the

current U.S. and EU sanctions were responsible for the state

of the Zimbabwean economy and had caused the suffering of the

Zimbabwean people, who were willing to engage one another in

an effort to resolve their problems.

 

——————————————— ——

SOUTH AFRICA, LIBYA, VIET NAM AND INDONESIA

ARGUE SANCTIONS ACTION ILLEGITIMATE

——————————————— ——

 

3. (U) Following Chidyausiku’s statement, South African

PermRep Dumisani Kumalo said that the talks between the GOZ

leadership and the opposition party Movement for Democratic

Change (MDC) had resumed on June 10 in South Africa. Kumalo

called the elections “unfair and not transparent,” but stated

that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit

on June 25 “called for the lifting of all sanctions” on

Zimbabwe. He continued that SADC had decided that it would

encourage the parties to honor their commitments to promote

“peace, stability, democracy, and reconciliation,” and that

South Africa was obliged to follow the decisions of SADC and

the African Union (AU), and therefore would vote against the

resolution.

 

4. (U) Libyan Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi expressed concern

with the tension between the parties, and pledged to work to

diffuse that tension in line with the AU’s July 1 resolution

on Zimbabwe. Dabbashi asserted that the situation did not

present a threat to international peace and security, and

this was an opinion confirmed by Zimbabwe’s neighbors. He

alleged that the draft text would violate Zimbabwe’s

sovereignty and represent interference in its internal

affairs. Imposing sanctions would run counter to the

“opinion of the international community” that sanctions are a

tool of last resort, and would remove the incentive for one

party (the MDC) to enter into further dialogue.

 

5. (U) Explaining Indonesia’ abstention, DPR Hasan Kleib

stated that his government was “appalled by the violence” and

human rights abuses, but the draft resolution would neither

promote dialogue and reconciliation, nor support regional

efforts to solve the crisis. Viet Nam PermRep Minh said that

in the absence of a threat to international peace and

security, the imposition of Chapter VII sanctions would run

counter to international law.

 

——————————————— —————

BURKINA FASO COMMITTED TO

PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF THE CONFLICT

——————————————— —————

 

6. (U) Burkina Faso PermRep Michel Kafando stated that the

situation in Zimbabwe continued to worsen and it was a threat

to peace in Southern Africa. Burkina Faso endorses the AU

commitment to encouraging a dialogue to promote peace in

Zimbabwe, but as a member of the Security Council, Burkina

Faso “must also shoulder the responsibility to respond to any

threat to international peace and security.” The proposed

 

USUN NEW Y 00000621 002 OF 003

 

 

arms embargo was designed to prevent a large-scale conflict,

and the text had the support of Burkina Faso for this reason.

Kafando argued that the adoption of the resolution would not

have compromised or undermined a political settlement, but on

the contrary would have encouraged one.

 

——————————————— ———-

US AND UK SPAR WITH RUSSIA OVER POSITIONS

——————————————— ———-

 

7. (U) Speaking immediately after the vote, UK PermRep John

Sawers said that the Security Council had “failed to shoulder

its responsibility to do what it (could) to prevent a

national tragedy deepening, and spreading its effects across

southern Africa.” Rather than undermining the ongoing

mediation efforts, the resolution would have required the GOZ

to engage meaningfully with the mediation, and would have

placed “countervailing pressure on the Mugabe regime to

balance the pressure and intimidation it continues to exert

on the political opposition.” Sawers argued that the

resolution was not an intrusion into Zimabawe’s internal

affairs, as the Council has often determined that instability

in one country has consequences for wider peace and

stability. The Council had now lost the opportunity to

impose a legal obligation on Mugabe to discontinue the

violence, strengthen the mediation efforts, and impose an

arms embargo. Sawers called Russia’s position

“inexplicable,” noting that President Medvedev had supported

the G8 statement to “take further steps, inter alia

introducing financial and other measures against those

individuals responsible for the violence.” The vetoes of

China and Russia were “deeply damaging to the long-term

interests of Zimbabwe’s people” and had harmed the prospects

of an early end to the violence and oppression.

 

8. (U) Speaking next, Russian PermRep Vitaly Churkin

criticized the “irresponsible and factually inaccurate”

statement by the UK. Churkin said that there was no

reference in the G8 statement to Security Council action, and

that “all members (of the Council) knew this.” Churkin

characterized the draft resolution as an “illegitimate and

dangerous” attempt to take action beyond the scope of the UN

Charter. The situation in Zimbabwe could not be solved, he

continued, by “artificially elevating” it to a threat to

international peace and security, and the initiative

interfered in a national process. Furthermore, the draft

ignored the ongoing discussion between the political parties

in Zimbabwe and the position of the AU on the need to foster

dialogue. Churkin said that the sponsors of the resolution

had been warned that sanctions would deepen the crisis, and

had missed an opportunity to develop a united Council

approach on the way out of the crisis. Churkin added that

the failure to adopt the resolution did not impact the

international community’s interest in resolving the crisis in

Zimbabwe.

 

9. (U) Ambassador Khalilzad expressed U.S. disappointment

that Russia and China prevented the Council from adopting a

strong resolution condemning and sanctioning the violent

regime of Robert Mugabe, and stated that, in blocking the

resolution, China and Russia had stood with Mugabe against

the people of Zimbabwe. Particularly surprising and

disturbing, he said, was the reversal of the Russian position

from a few days earlier during the G8 summit, when Russia had

supported a G8 statement deploring that the Government of

Zimbabwe had carried out elections on June 27 despite the

violence and intimidation that prevented the conduct of free

and fair elections, quoting the statement’s commitment to

further measures. “The Russian performance here today,”

Ambassador Khalilzad said, “raises questions about its

reliability as a G8 partner.” He cited UN Deputy

Secretary-General Migiro’s characterization of the situation

in Zimbabwe as “the single greatest challenge to regional

stability in southern Africa,” and noted that the AU had

expressed the “urgent need to prevent further worsening of

the situation to avoid the spread of conflict.” Ambassador

Khalilzad noted that no substantive negotiations were

underway between the Mugabe regime and the opposition,

contrary to what had been reported by South Africa.

Ambassador Khalilzad applauded Burkina Faso, Liberia and

Sierra Leone for standing up for the people of Zimbabwe by

supporting the resolution, and pledged to continue to work

with all Security Council members to monitor the situation in

Zimbabwe and urge the SYG to appoint a representative to

support the negotiation process.

 

10. (U) French PermRep Maurice Ripert said the violence

continued, and the number of refugees was growing,

threatening regional stability. The draft resolution would

 

USUN NEW Y 00000621 003 OF 003

 

 

have provided the necessary pressure to bolster the political

process and hold accountable those perpetrating that

violence. Ripert stated that going forward it was important

to ensure that democracy prevailed.

 

11 (U) Chinese PermRep Wang Guangya stated that China had

“insurmountable difficulties” with the text, and asserted

that at the G8 summit African leaders had clearly opposed the

use of sanctions. This was not a threat to international

peace and security, and the threat of sanctions would

interfere with the dialogue between the parties, which China

believed was the best approach to solving the crisis. Wang

called on the parties to exercise restraint, and refrain from

action that would lead to the further deterioration of the

situation.

 

12. (U) Croatian PermRep Neven Jurica expressed deep regret

over the defeat of the draft resolution, noting that the

Council had failed to apply “long needed” pressure on Mugabe,

and that the Council should not tolerate the use of violence

“to distort democracy at the expense of the people.” Costa

Rican DPR Saul Wiesleder expressed regret for the vetoes,

stating that the situation in Zimbabwe had dangerous

implications for the region. He stated the fundamental

importance that the will of the majority be respected, and

noted that the elections had not met the minimum standards

for fairness. Belgian DPR Olivier Belle stated that, despite

the regrettable outcome of the vote, the Council was still

unanimous on the gravity of the situation and the need for a

negotiated settlement. Panamanian PermRep Ricardo Arrias

said that while Panama did not believe that the situation yet

constituted a threat to international peace and security, it

could soon become one and had voted for the resolution on

those grounds. Italian DPR Aldo Mandovani stated concisely

that the people of Zimbabwe should be able to express their

legitimate political will.

 

——————————————— —————–

AU, ANGOLA, AND TANZANIA ENCOURAGE

SUPPORTING DIALOGUE

——————————————— —————–

 

13. (U) Angola, representing SADC, said that sanctions on one

party could further complicate and damage the ongoing

political dialogue, and that the international community

should “give dialogue a chance.” Tanzanian PermRep Augustine

Mahiga said the Security Council should consider working in

tandem with the AU as outlined in its recent resolution in

particular by supporting SADC-led mediation. AU Ambassador

Ratsifandrihamanana said that African leaders had taken full

responsibility (for mediating the situation), and asked that

no actions be taken that would have a negative impact on that

mediation.

 

Khalilzad

(3 VIEWS)

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