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Cablegate: Un: Russia, China Veto Zimbabwe Sanctions

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

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